Judge grants early release for man who confessed to fatal wrong-way DUI crash on YouTube

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus man who killed a man in a drunken wrong-way crash on I-670 in 2013 has been granted early release from jail.

Matthew Cordle was sentenced to six years in prison and six months in jail for the crash that killed Vincent Canzani on June 22, 2013. His driver’s license was also suspended for life.

A YouTube video showing Cordle’s confession posted by ‘Because I Said I would’ in September of that year went viral and has been viewed more than three million times.

“My name is Matthew Cordle and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzari,” Cordle says in the video. “When I get charged, I will plead guilty and take full responsibility for what I’ve done to Vincent and his family.”

Cordle’s sentence includes six months in county jail to be served following the completion of his prison term. That jail sentence began following his release from prison on Sept. 13.

Cordle and his attorney’s filed a motion asking that the remaining jail time be suspended.

Judge Jennifer French suspended the remaining five months of Cordle’s sentence during a court hearing Wednesday. French said she’s convinced Cordle is remorseful and rehabilitated.

Angela Canzani Riggs, the victim’s daughter asked the judge to reject Cordle’s request for early release.

“Letting him out six months early sends him a message that he can continue to do what he wants and it doesn’t matter who it affects,” Canzani-Riggs said.

In court on Wednesday, Cordle said he has tried to make good on his promise to walk out of prison a better man.

“I believe I’ve done that by developing maturity and responsibility that I didn’t have before,” Cordle said. “I have a job waiting for me. I have continuing education waiting for me. I have a support system that’s beyond amazing – people who would go to the ends of the earth to help me do the right thing and to not let me do the wrong thing.”

French said she was persuaded that Cordle is remorseful and rehabilitated.

She said she was impressed by Cordle’s exemplary prison record and the fact that he already has a job lined up at a drug and alcohol treatment center.

French ordered the 156 days remaining on Cordle’s sentence to be suspended.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien was disappointed.

“His promise to the court, as well as his promise in the video to the community, seems to me, was reneged in open court here today by him,” O’Brien said.

Sarah Alasya, Matthew Cordle’s sister, said the family is pleased with the judge’s decision.

“We know the true Matt and know that it will be better served on the outside and he can start his life … outside of prison and jail and make good on all the things that he said,” Alasya said.

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