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On September 3rd, 2013, the YouTube channel for social movement organization Because I Said I Would released a video titled “I killed a man," which begins with a mosaic-censored white male confessing to hitting and killing a 61-year-old man named Vincent Canzani while driving drunk on the night of June 22nd, 2013. After revealing that his attorneys advised him to lie in order to get his blood test thrown out in court, the speaker reveals his face and identifies himself as a 22-year-old Matthew Cordle, stating that he intends to plead guilty once charges were filed. In less than two weeks, the video was viewed more than 2.1 million times.
Because I Said I Would
Because I Said I Would is a social movement non-profit organization launched by Ohio resident Alex Sheen after losing his father to lung cancer in September 2012. Since his father was a man who always kept his promises, he launched the movement with the intent of helping others hold on to their commitments with the use of “promise cards” (shown below) on which participants can write down their pledge and make their intent be publicly known through social media.
News Media Coverage
On September 5th, 2013, the video was featured on a number of news media outlets including the Huffington Post, Yahoo! News, Crime Library, Betabeat and dozens of local news stations including WCPO Cincinnati, Cleveland’s Sun News and the Las Vegas Sun, among others. The following day, the video was also featured on Buzzfeed, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News Insider, the National Post, New York Daily News and CBS News.
Canzani’s Daughter Responds
On September 6th, Vincent Canazi’s daughter Angela responded to the video after she had seen it on the news. She felt as if the confession should have been shown to her family and police prior to being released online and believed that he made the video with the intention of getting a lighter sentence. After the hearing on September 11th, she again told reporters that the video is detracting from the gravity of the situation and despite its message, nothing will bring her father back to life.
On September 9th, Cordle was arrested and charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence, facing a maximum sentence of eight and a half years in prison. A number of viewers suggested that the video may have been an attempt to get a more lenient sentence from the judge, however his attorneys asserted that they did not advise the video’s production.
Not Guilty Plea
On September 11th, Cordle entered a preliminary plea of not guilty despite his admission in the video. His lawyer, George Breitmayer, claimed this plea was just a formality in order to ensure the case would be assigned a random judge and that it would be changed to guilty on September 18th. That day, Sheen posted a video update (shown below) saying that he called the Assistant County Prosecuter, Keith McGrath, who clarified that Ohio law dictates a Not Guilty plea is necessary for a random judge assignment so people cannot game the legal system.
On October 23rd, Cordle was convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide and driving under the influence and sentenced to six and a half years as well as losing his driving privileges permanently. Before he was given the sentence, Cordle told the judge that it should have been him who died that night and asserted that “there’s no fair sentence when it comes to the loss of life.”
The Columbus Dispatch – Gahanna man identified as victim in I-670 wrong-way crash
The Huffington Post – Matthew Cordle Confesses To Killing Man In Crash (VIDEO)
Las Vegas Sun – Hearing for Ohio man who confessed to DUI in video
Fox News Insider – VIRAL: Ohio Man Posts Video Confession to Killing Vet in DWI Crash
Because I Said I Would – “Matt has no choice on how the court process works.”
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