A 61-year-old Ohio man was killed by a drunk driver on June 22 of this year in Columbus. Slightly more than two months later, on September 3, the 22-year-old driver who was arrested in the case confessed to the DUI charge and wrong-way car accident on a YouTube video. Matthew Cordle then formally surrendered to authorities.
Cordle was charged with and subsequently pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular assault and drunk driving.
He was sentenced yesterday by a Columbus judge to six and a half years in prison and additional exactions. Those include a lifetime driving ban as well as a fine and the payment of court costs.
Cordle’s case has generated wide interest, owing largely to the online confession and his apology. He has expressed contrition for the incident several times, stating recently that, “Whatever my sentence may be, the true punishment is living.”
Cordle’s sentence fell short of what he could have received, with Judge David Fais opting not to mete out the maximum penalty of an eight and a half year prison term.
Cordle’s video was played at his sentencing hearing, with Fais stating that its airing was an instructive teaching tool highlighting the “epidemic” of cases he presides over featuring alcohol and drug use.
Several people wrote letters, which were read in court. One was from the victim’s former spouse, who voiced her belief in Cordle’s sincerity. Another was from the victim’s daughter, who stated that the maximum sentence was a more appropriate outcome.
“My father got a death sentence,” her letter stated. “Eight-and-a-half years is nothing.”
Source: CNN, “Man who confessed to drunk driving in viral video gets 6 1/2 years,” Kisa Mlela Santiago, Oct. 23, 2013