Created on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio driver who made an online video confessing to causing a fatal wrong-way crash after drinking heavily is expected back in court Wednesday ahead of a possible guilty plea.
Matthew Cordle enters the courtroom Tuesday for his arraignment on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide in Columbus. In a 3 1/2 minute video posted last week, Cordle admitted to causing a fatal car crash that killed a man on June 22. (AP Photo/Mike Munden)
A judge didn't allow Matthew 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.
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."
Cordle, of Powell, another Columbus suburb, appeared briefly in Franklin County court Tuesday after being charged with aggravated vehicular homicide a day earlier and turning himself in.
He also is charged with a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He faces two to 8½ years in prison.
Cordle will enter a not guilty plea initially Wednesday, a process that will lead to a judge chosen at random before whom he will then plead guilty, defense attorney George Breitmayer said.
Wearing a beige jail shirt and blue pants and slippers, Cordle sat between his lawyers and didn't speak during the hearing. His family and relatives of Canzani all declined to comment.
The video was filmed Sept. 3, and the version posted on YouTube has been viewed more than 1.7 million times. It begins with Cordle's face blurred as he describes how he has struggled with depression and was simply trying to have a good time with friends going "from bar to bar" the night of the accident. He then describes how he ended up driving into oncoming traffic on Interstate 670. Cordle's face becomes clear as he reveals his name and confesses to killing Canzani.
He ends the video by pleading with viewers not to drink and drive.