Ohio man who posted video on drunk driving death gets 6-1/2 years

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 23, 2013 11:42 AM
Ohio man who posted video on drunk driving death gets 6-1/2 years

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A 22-year-old Ohio man who confessed in an online video to killing a man in a drunken driving crash was sentenced on Wednesday to 6-1/2 years in prison.

Matthew Cordle, who lives in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, Ohio, had pleaded guilty on September 18 to aggravated vehicular homicide and driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol at the time of the wrong-way highway crash that killed Vincent Canzani, 61, in June.

The case gained national attention after Cordle posted on the Internet a 3-1/2-minute video confession titled "I killed a man" in which he admitted to drinking until he blacked out and promised to plead guilty to the charges against him.

He had faced up to 8-1/2 years in prison at his sentencing before Franklin County Judge David Fais.

"I'm so sorry for the pain I have caused you," Cordle said before he was sentenced in the courtroom where Canzani's family sat. "It should have been me who died, the guilty party."

Vincent Canzani's daughter, Angela Canzani, told the court her father was a photographer and talented artist with five grandchildren who can never look forward to another holiday with him.

"Eight and a half years is nothing," Angela Canzani said of the possible maximum sentence. "After eight and a half years, Matthew Cordle will have his whole life. My dad is never coming back."

Cordle admitted that he tried to drive 20 miles to his home on June 22 after four hours of heavy drinking and was driving the wrong way on a highway off-ramp when his truck hit Canzani's vehicle.

"There is no magic number, no magic sentence in these cases," Fais said before he sentenced Cordle. "Some people will say this sentence is too lenient, some people will say it is too harsh."

Prosecutors had sought an eight-year sentence for Cordle, whose blood alcohol content was more than twice Ohio's 0.08 limit. Defense attorneys asked for a shorter sentence, saying he was not a risk to re-offend and had no prior criminal record.

Cordle's video was one of a series of recent online posts by people confessing to crimes in the United States and abroad.

In August, Florida resident Derek Medina posted a Facebook message to "friends" that he had killed his wife and posted a picture of her body on the floor. He has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder and has contended that he shot her in self defense after a verbal dispute turned violent and she began to kick him and punch him with a closed fist.

In April, a man in Vietnam surrendered to authorities there after confessing on Facebook to killing his wife.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by David Bailey, Greg McCune and Gunna Dickson)

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