"My name is Matthew Cordle and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession."
On Tuesday, Cordle, of Columbus, Ohio, confessed via a YouTube video to killing 61-year-old Canzani in a drunk driving accident. The video starts with Cordle's face pixelated out and his voice digitally altered to conceal his identity. He begins the confession by saying "I killed a man. I was out with some friends, we were all drinking really heavily, just hopping from bar to bar, just trying to have a good time, and I lost control."
"I’m begging you, please don’t drink and drive. Don’t make the same excuses that I did."
He continues on to claim that lawyers told him he might be able to get off without any charges by lying, but he says "I won't go down that path." Cordle's identity is then revealed, and he says "I won’t dishonor Vincent’s memory by lying about what happened." He adds that "I will take that [prison] sentence for just one reason, and that reason is so I can pass this message on to you... I’m begging you, please don’t drink and drive. Don’t make the same excuses that I did."
The roughly three-and-a-half minute video is highly produced, but it doesn't seem to be a hoax. Cordle apparently sent a message to the Facebook page of a new non-profit organization called Because I Said I Would, which publishes promises and confessions online. Founder Alex Sheen of Ohio made the video, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
The video is but the most recent example of a web confession. The site that published the video is a bit like the popular weekly blog PostSecret, which releases some of the anonymous — and often uncomfortable — post card confessions it receives. Cordle has yet to be charged, but a spokesperson for the local prosecutor told The Guardian that he had viewed the video and will recommend to the grand jury that he be tried for a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide. The paper also reports the prosecutor downloaded the YouTube video to use as evidence.
Update: On Monday, September 9th, Cordle was indicted by a grand jury for the death of Vincent Vanzani, according to a report from The Columbus Disptach. Shortly thereafter, he turned himself in at the Franklin County Jail in Columbus, Ohio. In a Disptach video of Cordle's surrender, the 22-year-old's lawyers said that he plans on pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, which will likely result in a prison sentence of as much as eight-and-a-half years.
One of Cordle's two lawyers, George Breitmayer, told the newspaper that the YouTube video confession wasn't a bid for attention. "Any of the naysayers out there, they are going to find out ... he didn't do this (video) for any other purpose but to raise awareness about drunken driving and get some closure for the victim’s family," Breitmayer said.