Covered by CNN yesterday, 22-year-old Matthew Cordle was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison after confessing to killing a man while driving drunk. However, his original confession wasn’t given to the police first; it was recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Recorded on August 27, 2013 and published to YouTube on September 3, 2013, the video has attracted approximately 2.4 million views. In the video, Cordle admits to drinking heavily prior to getting into his truck, then ended up driving into oncoming traffic and crashing into 61-year old Vincent Canzani’s automobile. Canzani was killed in the crash and Cordle’s blood-alcohol level was .19, double the legal limit in Ohio.
After being charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, Cordle plead guilty to the charge on September 18, 2013. Prior to the sentence being handed down, two letters were read in the courtroom both arguing for a lighter sentence. The first was written by Canzani’s ex-wife and the second was written by Herald Dennis, Jr., a man that survived a nearly fatal car accident as a result of being hit by a drunk driver. Both of the letters acknowledged the sincerity of Cordle’s YouTube video confession.
Alternatively, Canzani’s daughter argued for the maximum eight-and-a-half year sentence Speaking in reference to the YouTube confession, Angela Canzani said “I’ve heard about a message. The message we don’t want to hear is that if you hit and kill someone — and admit to it — you get away with it. My father got a death sentence and did nothing wrong.” Within the YouTube video, Cordle also urges other the public to avoid drinking, then getting behind the wheel of a car.
According to Ohio state law, Cordle is not eligible for early release prior to the completion of the six-and-a-half year sentence. In addition to the prison sentence, Cordle has been ordered to pay a fine of $1,075 and his driver’s license has been suspended for life.