Last month, I wrote about Matthew Cordle who confessed, via YouTube.com, to killing Vincent Canzani while driving drunk. Cordle, who asked for no mercy, was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison by an Ohio judge.
Recall that Cordle was not charged with a crime when he took to Youtube to confess and let the public know that he would “take full responsibility for everything [he’s] done to [the victim] and his family.” Cordle, in the online video, explains that he blacked out during a night of drinking before driving into oncoming traffic and colliding with the victim.
As part of “Because I said I Would,” a social movement dedicated to bettering humanity through the power of a promise, Cordle ended his Youtube confession by begging viewers to “make the promise to never drink and drive.”
Franklin County Judge David Fais sentenced Cordle to six years for aggravated vehicular homicide and six months for driving under the influence of alcohol. Cordle’s driving privileges were also revoked for life, but not before hearing from the victim’s survivors.
Canzani’s daughter asked the judge for the maximum sentence saying, “my father got a death sentence and did nothing wrong.” Canvani’s ex-wife, however, wrote a letter to the judge saying that she believed that Canzani would not have wanted the maximum sentence, which was 8 ½ years. She told Fais that she believed Cordle would keep his promise never to drink and drive again.
Cordle’s father, Dave Cordle, told the judge he was “disappointed, disgusted and heartbroken” at the choices his son made that night. He did not ask for leniency, and told Canzani’s family his heart was filled with sorrow at that their loss and hopes someday they can forgive his son.
The California equivalent to Cordle’s aggravated vehicular homicide while operating a vehicle while impaired would likely be California Penal Code 191.5(a). This refers to “gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.” A violation of California Penal Code 191.5(a) carries a sentence of four, six, or ten years in a California state prison in addition to a laundry list of other penalties.
Although Cordle admitted to driving drunk in the past, he had never been caught. Had the incident occurred in California and had Cordle suffered a prior DUI, in California, he could have been charged with second degree murder under California’s Watson Murder Rule.
Cordle told CNN’s “New Day” from jail that “there is really no fair sentence when it comes to the loss of life.”