Confessed Drunk Driver Pleads Guilty to Vehicular Homicide

From Time:

“An Ohio man who confessed in an online video to causing a fatal wrong-way crash after a night of heavy drinking has pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide.

Twenty-two-year-old Matthew Cordle of Powell also pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Attorneys for Cordle said he wanted to plead guilty to make good on his pledge to accept responsibility for the June 22 crash. They’re weighing whether to seek Cordle’s release on bond before sentencing to allow him to spread his anti-drunk-driving message.”

As terrible as his crime was, it’s hard not to view this guy with some sympathy. He has acted as the perfect defendant since the accident and has fully cooperated with law enforcement all the way through this process.

But what puts him above and beyond most other criminals is that he is taking full responsibility for his actions and he’s not asking for any special treatment. Nowhere during the course of his now famous video did he plead for a reduced sentence or make any excuses for what he did. That takes guts. That takes integrity. There are hardcore criminals and then there are good, honest people who make terrible mistakes. Matt Cordle is definitely the latter.

It is now up to the judge to sentence him, with the law mandating 2 to 8.5 years in prison. As much as I would like to see him get the minimum, the victim’s family should also get say in his fate. Despite his confession, he still killed a man who had friends, loved ones and a life of his own. True justice requires that all the factors and circumstances be taken into account before any action is taken.

That being said, perhaps a reduced sentence could come with a requirement that he lecture about the dangers of drunk driving. I think that would the best outcome given the circumstances.


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