COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man who confessed in an online video to causing a fatal wrong-way crash after a night of heavy drinking pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated vehicular homicide.
Matthew Cordle, 22, also pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He faces two to 8½ years in prison at sentencing, which was set for Oct. 10. Cordle also will lose driving privileges for life.
Cordle, who lives in Powell, a Columbus suburb, said little during the hearing, answering a series of questions from the judge with short sentences.
Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said in court that Cordle denied causing a crash or hurting anyone when he was first taken into custody and that a court order was needed to obtain a blood sample for blood-alcohol testing.
“I have no recollection,” he said when asked if any of his friends had tried to stop him from driving. He also couldn’t remember how long he had been drinking or if he had had anything to eat.
“I drank so much, I was blacked out,” Cordle said. His attorneys said he may have suffered a brain injury from a cracked skull in the accident.
Cordle wanted to plead guilty to make good on his pledge to accept responsibility for the crash, according to his lawyers. They did not ask for him to be released on bond before sentencing, and a judge revoked his $255,000 bond.
In a 3½-minute video posted two weeks ago, Cordle admitted he killed a man from another Columbus suburb and said he “made a mistake” when he decided to drive that night.
Cordle received permission to give a media interview from jail Thursday with a news organization his attorneys wouldn’t identify.
Mr. O'Brien said he believed Cordle’s remorse in the video was genuine, but he said any further interviews would be self-serving. He also disputed Cordle’s assertion in the confessional video that he could have fought the case against him, which Mr. O'Brien called “a slam dunk.”
“It’s nonsense to think that you can beat that case, and any lawyer that told him that was trying to get a large fee on some kind of promise,” Mr. O'Brien said.
“He’ll be the first person to tell you any time you sit down and talk with Matt that this is not about him, it is about the Canzani family,” defense attorney George Breitmayer said. “He’s just trying to make something good come out of a terrible, terrible situation.”