COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio man who confessed in an online video to causing a fatal wrong-way crash after a night of heavy drinking will plead guilty to the crime next week, according to his attorneys.
Defendant Matthew Cordle entered a preliminary plea of not guilty Wednesday in a procedural move allowing a judge to be appointed to accept a guilty plea.
Cordle will plead guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide to make good on his pledge to accept responsibility for the crash, his lawyers said Wednesday.
They will decide later whether to seek Cordle’s release on bond before sentencing to allow him to spread his anti-drunk-driving message.
“Matthew’s pleading guilty as soon as possible so that he can get his message out and express to the family how sorry he is for what happened,” defense attorney Martin Midian said after the date was set for Cordle’s guilty plea.
In a 3½-minute video posted last week, Cordle admitted he killed a man from a Columbus suburb and said he “made a mistake” when he decided to drive that night.
“My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani,” he says somberly. “This video will act as my confession.”
After Wednesday’s hearing, Canzani’s daughter told a TV station the attention the case has gotten is forcing her to relive what happened.
A judge didn’t allow Cordle to go ahead with a plea Tuesday, saying his lawyers didn’t follow court procedures for first appearances.
Franklin County Judge Julie Lynch also alleged the attorneys balked at coming before her because she wouldn’t promise a specific sentence, something they deny.
Lynch took Cordle’s not guilty plea in a brief hearing Wednesday and set a combined $255,000 bond. Cordle will appear next week before veteran Franklin County Judge David Fais.
Online: Matthew Cordle’s video confession: http://bit.ly/1dWug8i