YouTube confessor not offering guilty plea yet

The 22-year-old Ohio man admitted to driving drunk in the wrong-way crash that killed a man.
MCT Regional News
Sep 12, 2013

For the second straight day, Matthew Cordle was hauled into a courtroom in handcuffs and jail scrubs to stand before a judge and a jury box stuffed with TV cameras and reporters.
On Wednesday, more than a week later than hoped, Cordle is scheduled to appear before a judge to enter the plea he promised the world in exchange for a life taken — guilty.

The 22-year-old Powell man, whose online video confession to drunken driving went viral, will plead guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide next week before Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fais, his lawyers said.

“He’s going to fulfill his promise and accept responsibility,” said George Breitmayer III, one of Cordle’s attorneys. “This has never been about Matt. It was about the message he wanted to get out” to not drink and drive.

In a video recorded on Sept. 3 and posted to www.becauseisaidiwould.com and YouTube, Cordle confessed to driving drunk on June 22 and killing Vincent Canzani, 61, of Gahanna, in a wrong-way crash on I-670 near 3rd Street.

He was charged on Monday and appeared before Common Pleas Court Judge Julie Lynch on Tuesday, but she postponed the arraignment. Cordle then went before Lynch again yesterday and, in a procedural move, pleaded not guilty to send his case to Fais.

His lawyers had hoped their client could plead guilty yesterday, but Fais was not available to handle the case. Lynch set Cordle’s bond at $150,000.

In order to signal his commitment to accepting responsibility, Cordle will remain in jail at least until his appearance before Fais, said Martin Midian, another of his attorneys.

Cordle faces from two to eight and one-half years in prison. His lawyers hope the sincerity of his video, and his pleas to others to not drink and drive, might help sway Fais to impose less than the maximum sentence sought by prosecutors.

He also is charged with driving while intoxicated. His blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.19 percent, more than twice the level at which a driver is presumed impaired in Ohio, when he was hospitalized following the crash.

Cordle’s parents and one of Canzani’s daughters have attended court proceedings this week, but have declined to speak with reporters.

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

©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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