This confession appears to be valid. I was skeptical at first because so
many hoaxes thrive on Youtube, however I googled the prosecutor, and he does indeed exist. And I found the story online on CBS’ Crime Profiler, verifying for me that Matthew Cordle is the real deal. Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien said Cordle was a suspect in the deadly crash but hadn’t been charged. O’Brien said he downloaded a copy onto a CD that he’ll use to indict Cordle for aggravated vehicular homicide, with an alcohol specification, a charge that carries a maximum of eight years in prison. O’Brien called the video “compelling.” He stated “I’ve never seen one before like that.”
Compelling is an understatement. Cordle’s statement is powerful in its raw, practical honesty. Somehow his frank admission moves me without making me cry. It’s too blatant for that.
22-year-old Matthew Cordle made the video on the site because I said so, a site for people who make commitments to the public they intend to keep. Cordle’s life will never be the same. He doesn’t weep. He doesn’t beg for himself (he begs that none of us drink and drive), he doesn’t seek pity. He seeks fair consequences for his actions in the American criminal justice system. He stated that his lawyer told him all he had to do was lie and he might receive a light sentence, or even walk away with no sentence at all. Cordle couldn’t do it.
I don’t know what I would do in his place. Of course, I’d rather never walk in his shoes but God forbid if I did, I truly don’t know how I would handle my arrest and charges. I’d like to think I would display Cordle’s integrity and bravery. Cordle is seeking “the maximum sentence” for his crime. Would I do the same? Life inside a maximum security penitentiary must suck.
I have another blog entitled Killers Without Conscience. Technically, Cordle’s crime qualifies him for that blog but his incredible response renders that impossible. I can’t very well blog Killers With Conscience. The site’s premise would be made quite redundant.
Who knows how many years this man will serve for his crime? I have a feeling that a man like this, a man with a conscience, will never leave the prison in his head. The bars that imprison him are revealed in four simple, haunting words: I killed a man.
Update – To everyone’s surprise, Cordle has changed his plea to not guilty. The judge wasn’t impressed. In fact, she was pissed. His lawyers pled not guilty to all of the charges he previously swore he would plea guilty. I would say that Cordle is a liar and a coward except for one thing: it’s one thing to say you will pay the maximum price and spend your life in prison. It’s another thing entirely to live it. Once Cordle got into that grey jumpsuit and became a number, held without bail in a cell with god only knows how many nasty jailbirds, I believe this preliminary taste of prison life was more than enough to sway him away from his original vow.
I don’t know that he is a liar. Before he did any jail time I am certain he meant every word he said. Of course, Cordle couldn’t expect a club med but I don’t believe he was realistic when he claimed he would live in prison for the rest of his life. Personally I’d rather kill myself than go to the big house. Can you imagine how horrible that would be? Cordle would be a sex slave for every hardened (pun), evil man in the joint. Not fun.
Now he states he will reverse his plea with a new judge and plead guilty. This is a confused, unhappy, young man, an engaged father of two children. Think of the pain they too will suffer without their father. To be clear, I’m not defending Cordle’s utterly irresponsible actions when he drove drunk and killed Vincent Cadanzi by any means.
Hopefully he will stick to his vow about not lying about his actions, at least. He swore he wouldn’t disgrace Cadanzi’s memory that way. There may be a way around that, especially since he already admitted his guilt in the youtube tape. Then again, you know lawyers. They’ve always got a trick or two up their sleeves. Stay tuned.
Update – Thursday Sept 19: I received a very interesting and well-informed response to this blog yesterday from a reader whose information directed me to the video produced by Alex Sheen, the founder of Because I Said I Would. The reader contacted Keith McGrath about the Not Guilty plea Cordle entered on his first court appearance. In the video Sheen stated Matt Cordle pled not guilty not because he is a liar or a coward (I never thought so) but because he requires a random judge in order to receive the maximum sentence for his crime. Why the presiding judge wasn’t random, I do not know. Odd. He to have pled guilty today after receiving a random judge. Stay tuned.
Perhaps the many vloggers on youtube who have been screaming that Matthew Cordle is a hypocrite and using lovely obscenities in those responses will eat their words today, as bitter as they are.
Update – Matthew Cordle did indeed plead guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, as he promised he would. He faces anywhere from two to eight years in prison. So impaired was Cordle, he was initially hostile when asked for a blood sample; he didn’t realize he had been in a car accident. “I drank so much I blacked out,” Cordle told the judge, who asked why he couldn’t remember the details of the accident on June 22. After completing his sentence, Cordle is obliged to enter alcohol rehabilitation. I doubt he will be hostile about that obligation. Guts, that guy.