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Maximum sentence sought for YouTube confessor

TNS Regional News • Oct 23, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says that while Matthew Cordle spoke for nearly four minutes in his viral video, he neglected to include two simple words: “I’m sorry.”

O’Brien and the daughter of the Gahanna man that Cordle killed in a wrong-way, drunken-driving crash are asking a judge today to give him the maximum sentence — eight years in prison — for aggravated vehicular homicide.

Cordle’s lawyers counter that he deserves less time, that a hefty prison sentence would not further rehabilitate an already-contrite man and discourage others from taking responsibility for their crimes.

Cordle, 22, of Powell, is scheduled to be sentenced during a 10 a.m. hearing before Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fais. Cordle faces between two and eight and one-half years in prison.

Fais said he would join 2.3 million others in watching Cordle’s dramatic YouTube video before determining how long Cordle should serve.

In a case that gained international attention, Cordle pleaded guilty on Sept. 18 to killing Vincent Canzani, 61, while driving drunk on June 22 on I-670 near Third Street.

Cordle’s video was posted to the web on Sept. 3 and quickly went viral. He confessed to killing Canzani, vowed to accept responsibility — and a prison sentence — and pleaded with viewers not to drink and drive.

In a pre-sentencing memo, O’Brien argued that Canzani’s death was no accident, that “it was the result of intentional, repeated and deliberate decision-making by Cordle to get drunk and drive that three-ton weapon ...”

O’Brien called Cordle’s offense the worst of its type and cited 13 fatal traffic crashes in recent years in which the offenders received an average of 7.9 years in prison. He would give Cordle a six-month break for his “remorse” by allowing him to serve his drunken-driving sentence as part of his sentence.

Cordle’s lawyers say the former Army sharpshooter was sincere in his video plea and did not release the video with the intent of swaying a judge to give him a reduced sentence.

“A fair sentence is imperative in this case in order to send a message to other offenders and society that taking responsibility and trying to make something positive come from such a horrendous tragedy is an exemplary way to face such a tragic situation,” wrote George Breitmayer III, one of Cordle’s lawyers.

“Matthew knows no matter what sentence he receives, it cannot bring Mr. Canzani back. However, he hopes that once this case is closed, that those near and dear to Mr. Canzani can receive some level of closure,” said Martin Midian, another of his lawyers.

One of Canzani’s daughters, Angela, is expected to speak today before Fais sentences Cordle. She has been upset that his video focused attention on the “criminal” rather than her father.


By Randy Ludlow - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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