True to the promise made in his viral online video, Matthew Cordle pleaded guilty this morning to killing a man whose car he struck head-on while drunkenly driving the wrong way on the interstate.
Cordle, 22, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide during an appearance before Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fais.
Fais ordered a pre-sentence investigation of Cordle, who has no felony record and no prior drunken-driving arrests. He faces two to eight and one-half years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 10.
Cordle also pleaded guilty with driving while intoxicated after his blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.19 percent, more than twice the level at which a motorist is presumed intoxicated.
He was not charged prior to releasing his video as police and prosecutors awaited the completion of toxicology tests for drugs. None were found. A grand jury indicted Cordle on Sept. 9.
Cordle vowed in an online video posted to YouTube and becauseisaidiwould.com “to take full responsibility” for killing a man while begging others to not repeat his mistake and drink and drive.
Vincent Canzani, 61, of Gahanna, died on June 22 when his vehicle was struck by Cordle’s pickup truck on I-670 near Third Street after a night of what the Powell man called “blackout” drinking to dull his bouts with depression.
Cordle’s YouTube video, entitled “I killed a man,” has generated 2.1 million views since it was posted on Sept. 3. Cordle contacted the founder of becauseisaidiwould.com and sought his help in creating the video confession.
“I won’t dishonor Vincent’s memory by lying about what happened,” he said in the video in which he begged viewers to not drink and drive.
“I can’t bring Mr. Canzani back, and I can’t erase what I have done, but you can still be saved. Your victims still can be saved. So, please ...”
Cordle’s lawyers say his online confession was not intended to influence his case, but they still hope it sways Fais to give their client less than the maximum sentence sought by Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien.
Cordle has remained in jail, not posting a $150,000 bond, since he surrendered to authorities on Sept. 9.
By Randy Ludlow - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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