An Ohio man has confessed to killing a Navy veteran in a drunk driving accident in June. 22-year-old Matthew Cordle posted a video on YouTube to admit to the crime, saying he is ready to face the consequences of his actions.
“My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani,” he said in the video. “This video will act as my confession.”
An obituary published on Legacy.com reads that Vincent Canzani was a photographer who died at 61 as a result of a tragic automobile accident. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1980 to 1986, and is survived by his daughters and great-grandchildren.
The three-and-a-half video on YouTube was recorded on August 27 and was released on September 3. It started with a pixelated image of a man confessing to a crime in a distorted voice, describing what went on the night he had killed Mr Canzani.
“I killed a man. I was out with friends. We were drinking really heavily, just hopping from bar to bar,” he said.
“I made a mistake and got into my truck. I completely blacked out and decided to drive back home. I ended up the wrong way down the highway, directly into an oncoming traffic, and I struck a car. I killed a man.”
The day after the fatal event, Mr Cordle sought some “high-powered attorneys” for advice. He was told that they could help him by having his blood test thrown out, and all he had to do was lie.
“Well I won’t go down that path,” Mr Cordle continued before his identity was revealed.
“When I get charged, I’ll plead guilty and take full responsibility for everything I’ve done to Vincent and his family. If I had taken a different route, maybe I’d get a reduced sentence, maybe I’d get off.
“But I won’t dishonour Vincent’s memory by lying about what happened.”
He continued, “By releasing this video, I know exactly what it means. I’m handling the prosecution everything they need to put me away for a very long time. But I’m willing to take that sentence for just one reason. And that reason is so I could pass this message onto you: I beg you, and when I say the word beg specifically, I’m begging you [to] please don’t drink and drive.”
“I can’t bring Mr Canzani back, and I can’t erase what I’ve done. But you can still be saved. Your victims can still be saved. So please.”
The video was sent to Because I Said I Would, an incorporated non-profit organisation in Ohio, which helps other people to stick to their commitments.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, however, told ABCNews.com that Cordle was already the prime suspect in Canzani’s death.
“This isn’t a situation where he was confessing... He was a suspect. An investigation was ongoing,” he said.
The prosecutor’s office will likely present the case to grand jury, and a warrant will be issued for the suspect’s arrest.
Because I Said I Would founder Alex Sheen defended Mr Cordle’s confession, saying that “Against all legal advice, Matthew decided to make this video and release it prior to any charges being filed against him. His goal is to raise awareness about the terrible consequences that drunk driving can have on innocent people.”
He reiterated, though, that the organisation does not believe that Cordle should be praised as a hero for his confession, as some commenters online have done.
“Matt made an irresponsible choice to drink and drive that ended an innocent man’s life. Matt decided to release this video because he wants to raise awareness about the dangerous and irreversible consequences of drinking and driving. If that message is not heard... if viewers do not make the commitment to never drink and drive, then the video has certainly failed in its mission.”
The organisation then encouraged supporters to donate to an unaffiliated organisation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in honour of Mr Canzani.
To contact the editor, e-mail: