Columbus, OH-Against the advice of his attorneys, Matthew Cordle, confessed to killing a man while driving drunk in a You Tube video which went viral. Yesterday, a judge showed the Cordle little leniency, giving him nearly the maximum penalty.
Before he was sentenced, Cordle, who was facing 8 ½ years in jail spoke to the court, while addressing the judge and the affected victims he said, “Whatever my sentence may be, there is no fair sentence when it comes to the loss of life.”
Franklin County Judge David Fais sentenced Cordle to serve 6 ½ years in jail for killing Vincent Canzani, and he will lose his driver’s license for life as Ohio law requires. Judge Fais gave Cordle six years for aggravated vehicular manslaughter charge and 6 months for driving under the influence.
Cordle had spent the night drinking and bar hopping with this friends on June 22nd. As he was driving home he hit Vincent Canzani’s car head-on, killing him instantly. Cordle was also injured suffering from broken ribs and skull fracture.
Vincent Canzani’s daughter, Angela said prior to Cordle’s sentencing, “My Dad got the death penalty and he did nothing wrong,” according to USA Today.
When Cordle released his emotionally compelling video, Angela Canzani, criticized him, telling various media outlets that it was just a ploy for him to generate sympathy and get a lenient sentence from the court. If it was a ploy, as she said, it clearly did not work.
In contrast, to Angela Canzani’s anger towards Cordle, Vincent’s wife, who did not appear in court, sent Judge Fais a letter asking him not to give Cordle the maximum sentence since Vincent would have wanted that. She also told the judge she believes the 22 year-old learned his lesson and will live up to his promise to never drink and drive again.
Canzani’s widow also praised Cordle for having the strength to confess to deadly accident in such a public way.
Cordle’s father also spoke to the court saying that he “disappointed” and “heartbroken” about the choices his son made that night.
Before Cordle made his video with the help of a non-profit, Because I Said I Would, he consulted with attorneys who told him not to make the video. They knew that everything said in the video would be used against him, and the prosecutor in his case immediately jumped on the video.
Prosecutor Ron O’Brien was gunning for the maximum sentence but Cordle’s attorneys asked for a sentence that was fair, but it may have backfire since their client got the close to the maximum.
Matthew Cordle may have needed to make the video for personal atonement and wasn’t expecting a lenient sentence. The video is captivating and well-produced and gives the viewer the sense that Cordle is genuinely remorseful for his actions.
Hopefully, Cordle’s story will help highlight the dangers of drunken driving and might very well save a life. Not all DUI offenders will choose to take the same route as Cordle, they may decide to have their DUI attorney launch an aggressive defense and try and beat a conviction. But that is a decision each individual has to make.