A 22-year-old man who famously confessed, via YouTube video, to killing a 61-year-old man while drunk driving has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison.
“It should have been me instead of an innocent man. I vow that I’ll do everything I can to prevent it from happening again and his memory from fading,” said Matthew Cordle at his sentencing hearing.
On August 9th, Cordle contacted the Facebook page for Because I Said I Would, a non-profit organization that sends promise cards across the world for free in order to “better humanity through the power of a promise.” He asked them to help him film a video where he would confess to killing someone while driving under the influence. A little under a month later, that video was released and went viral.
“On that night I made a mistake – I got into my truck, completely blacked out, and tried to drive home,” said Cordle in the video. “I ended up going the wrong way on the highway, directly into oncoming traffic – and I struck a car. I killed a man.
Immediately following that, I consulted some high-powered attorneys who told me stories about similar cases where the drivers got off. They were convinced that they could get my blood tests thrown out, and all I would have to do for that was lie. But I won’t go down that path. My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession.”
Last month, Cordle pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He said he didn’t want a trial and waived his right to appeal. He and his lawyer also offered no recommendation for sentencing.
“After getting to know Matt, I can say with confidence that he truly regrets his decision that night. He describes the guilt he has as “insurmountable.” Knowing that Matthew has a tremendous amount of remorse for his actions, does that still mean he deserves years of incarceration? Absolutely. Drinking and driving is a serious crime; we must treat it as such. I know that it is harsh to say, but Matt’s regret will not bring back Vincent Canzani. We must enforce the law to discourage others from making this tragic mistake. I assure you that Matt agrees with me,” said a post on BISIW’s site.
When Cordle finally does get out of prison, he will have his driving privileges revoked for the rest of his life.
At the sentencing hearing, Canzani’s ex-wife said she didn’t think her ex-husband would have wanted Cordle to receive a maximum sentence.
“Nothing will bring Vincent back,” Oates said. “I know what pain Matthew feels. The pain will stay with him until his death.”