The man who confessed on YouTube to killing someone while driving drunk seems to be backtracking on his word.
On June 22, Matthew Cordle allegedly hit and killed 61-year-old Vincent Canzani while driving home drunk. Last week, Cordle posted a video on YouTube confessing to the crime. He said that once formally charged he would plead guilty and serve his prison sentence. He ended the video by warning others not to drink and drive.
Cordle appeared before a judge in court today. In accordance with his video, he was expected to plead guilty to his crime. Even the prosecution and defense attorneys agreed that Cordle would plead guilty. But he didn’t. He pleaded not guilty.
But before everyone calls Cordle a hypocrite, prosecutor Keith McGrath wants the public to know that pleading not-guilty is essentially a formality in Franklin County, Ohio courts.
“This is not unusual," McGrath said. "Every person that came through that arraignment court entered a not guilty plea. It's how you get assigned to a random judge here in Franklin County. You have to enter that not guilty plea first."
Formality or not, presiding Judge Julie Lynch was irked by Cordle’s decision, saying it “calls into question the validity of being so forth-coming in his YouTube video.”
"I'm somewhat incensed by somebody who doesn't, isn't forthright with the court," Lynch said.
Alex Sheen, founder of the website Because I Said I Would, produced Cordle’s confession video. Sheen keeps in contact with Cordle, and believes that he still intends to plead guilty once the formalities of the process are out of the way.
"Matt has been sticking true to his word, taking what's coming to him — what he deserves,” Sheen said. "Matt Cordle's family could post that bond in a goddamn heart beat. Matt Cordle is in jail right now because he wants to be in jail. He feels guilty, because he is guilty."