Man Who Confessed on YouTube Pleads Guilty in Court

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 18 2013 11:05 AM

Man Who Confessed to Fatal DUI on YouTube Pleads Guilty in Court

The Ohio man who posted a YouTube video earlier this month confessing to causing a fatal wrong-way crash while driving drunk made good on his promise this morning to plead guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, a crime that could send him to jail for the better part of a decade. Here's the Associated Press with the details from the courtroom:

Matthew Cordle, 22, also pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol at a hearing in Franklin County Court. He had entered a preliminary plea of not guilty last week in a procedural move allowing a judge to be appointed to accept the guilty plea.
Cordle said little during Wednesday's hearing, simply replying, "Yes, your honor," as the judge asked him a series of questions.
Cordle wanted to plead guilty to make good on his pledge to accept responsibility for the crash, according to his lawyers. They are weighing whether to seek Cordle's release on bond before sentencing to allow him to spread his anti-drunk-driving message. Cordle, of Powell, a Columbus suburb, faces two to 8 1/2 years in prison.
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The man who died in the crash was Vincent Canzani, a 61-year-old Navy vet veteran and the father of two daughters. Since Cordle's video confession went live, it's been viewed more than 2 million times.

To be clear, Cordle had already been linked to the crime when he posted his video, so as powerful as the confession was it is unlikely that he would have escaped punishment if he would have just stayed quiet. Police had already identified him as the driver of the wrong-way vehicle, and say they were simply waiting to finish their full investigation before taking the next step and filing charges. (Medical staff at the hospital where Cordle was taken following the crash described him as "very, very drunk.")

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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