A sobering confession goes viral. A man in Ohio who killed a man in a drunk driving crash, wants others to learn from his mistakes... and he used the Internet as his sounding board.
The video has sparked a lot of conversation. Was it a good idea to confess? Is he sincere? Or, did he just put together this video to gain sympathy and get a lesser sentence.
"My name is Matthew Cordle," says the man in the video. "And, on June 22, 2013, I killed Vincent Canzani," he confesses to the website becauseisaidiwould.com, a website dedicated to the social movement of making promises. "I ended up going the wrong way down the highway, directly into oncoming traffic, and I struck a car and I killed a man," says Cordle. He admits he was drunk.
For more than two months, Cordle has been considered a suspect in the drunk driving crash that killed 61-year-old Canzani. But, Cordle hasn't been charged. "This video will act as my confession," he says. In the confession, he says he contacted high powered attorneys who claimed they could get him a lesser sentence if he lied. "I won't dishonor Vincent's memory by lying about what happened," says Cordle.
"No attorney, at least no ethical attorney, would tell their client to lie. You just don't put your client on the stand," counters Oklahoma City DUI Attorney John Hunsucker.
Hunsucker and other Oklahomans have mixed reactions about the confession.
"I think it's crazy!" exclaims Donett Holmes.
"I think that it's good that he's taking responsibility for it," says Stephanie Fitzgerald. "But, is he doing this out of getting pity out of it, and trying to sway the verdict of what his future is going to be?" she goes on.
"He probably shouldn't have actually admitted it, but maybe that's a good thing, too, if it saves our court system money," says Carol Mahar.
"I would never recommend a confession as an attorney," says Hunsucker. "At this point, he has nothing to negotiate with." Hunsucker says he's sure Cordle is sincere in his remorse, however, he not so sure about the sincerity of the video. "His lawyer has made comments (that) this video is a strong testament to (Cordle's) character and that they will cooperate. Well, that's a lawyer doing mitigation and selling his client," says Hunsucker.
"When I get charged, I will plead guilty and take full responsibility for what I've done to Vincent and his family. By releasing this video, I know exactly what it means. I'm handing the prosecution everything they need to put me away for a very long time," says Cordle in his video. If he were in Oklahoma, he would be looking at a maximum sentence of life in prison, but in Ohio, the maximum is eight years. Hunsucker says he wonders if Cordle would have taken the same stance if this had happened in Oklahoma.
Cordle says he chose this form of confession for one reason-- to spread a message. "I'm begging you. Please don't drink and drive," he says at the end of his video.
And, on that, everyone seems to agree. "It is an important message, and I do hope most people take that message to heart," says Hunsucker.
Hunsucker says he now expects some sort of plea-bargain to take place. He says the video may sway a lesser sentence, but it all depends on the judge and what the family of the victim wants. "He's done a good job of getting some public support on his side," says Hunsucker. "If the family thinks he's sincere and they go to the District Attorney and say, 'We want this man to go out and do public service and take this message out, and not go to prison'- that may be what happens," he says.
To see the full confession video, click here.