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Matthew Cordle to get the maximum sentence despite video confession

Despite a YouTube video, the Associated Press reports that Matthew Cordle, the Ohio man who confessed to killing a man while driving drunk, will face the maximum sentence for his crimes. The Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said this week that he did not doubt that Matthew Cordle’s confession was “sincere,” but he said he was following a precedent for this type of case. According to O’Brian, he will request penalties that match the penalties assessed for other drunk drivers who have recently confessed. The harsh penalties mirror what O’Brian terms a “pattern of tougher sentences” for drunk drivers. For instance, of the recent convictions for aggravated vehicular homicide in central Ohio, almost all thirteen received an average prison term of eight years.

Who is Matthew Cordle and what did he do?

Matthew Cordle admitted that he was prone to blackouts when he drank, but despite his history, in June of this year Matthew Cordle, who was under the influence of alcohol, got behind the wheel and drove. His blood alcohol level or BAC was twice the legal limit of 0.08%. He hit and killed Vincent Canzani. Unlike other drivers who fight DUI charges, Matthew Cordle immediately aired a 3 ½-minute YouTube video. The video, which has been viewed over 2.2 million viewers, has Cordle confessing to the death. In the video he also describes what he remembered about that fateful night. Critics of the video claim Cordle was simply making a plea for sympathy and was hoping that the prosecution would show leniency given his confession and remorse. Supporters of Cordle claim, however, that not only has he saved the state thousands of dollars in prosecution costs, he also was brave to admit fault and take blame. The prosecution is having none of it. They especially denounce Cordle’s characterization of the crash as an “accident” and stated, the wreck "was the result of intentional, repeated, and deliberate decision making by Cordle to get drunk and drive that 3-ton weapon on our roadways where every man, woman and child was a target of a ticking time bomb.”

What else does the prosecution think about Matthew Cordle?

Although Matthew Cordle pleaded guilty within a few days after his indictment, prosecution also notes that Cordle's refusal to submit to a blood-alcohol test after the accident is enough for them to justify charging him with the maximum penalties. Sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday. If convicted Cordle could get up to 8 ½ years in prison, a $15,000 fine, and the loss of driving privileges for life. Cordle’s attorneys are still negotiating with prosecutors for a lower sentence, although no details have been provided. One problem with the confession, however, is that the prosecution has lost one of their most powerful bargaining tools: a confession in exchange for a lighter sentence. Cordle’s attorneys also argued that if the state would give Cordle a lower sentence it could send a positive message to other offenders who might consider a confession in the future if it means taking responsibility for causing a tragedy may help instead of hurt their case. Matthew Cordle says he's willing to take that sentence to pass on the message not to drink and drive- a good message which is sure to save lives.
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