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Man in drunken driver viral video confession pleads guilty

By Graham Winch, HLNtv.com
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Wed September 18, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Sentencing is scheduled for October 10
  • NEW: Matthew Cordle faces a maximum 8½-year sentence, prosecutor says
  • Cordle, 22, changes his original plea of not guilty in the June 22 incident
  • In an online video, Cordle said he was driving drunk and killed a 61-year-old man

(HLNtv.com) -- An Ohio man who confessed in a viral video that he killed a man while driving drunk kept his word Wednesday, pleading guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and driving under the influence.

Matthew Cordle, 22, appeared in a Columbus, Ohio as he told Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fais that he wanted to change his original plea, entered on September 11, from not guilty to guilty.

"Yes, your honor," said Cordle, confirming his plea to the judge.

Fais asked Cordle, who wore handcuffs and a khaki jail uniform at the hearing, multiple times about his decision-making on June 22, the date of the accident. Cordle told the judge he did not remember the events of that night because he "blacked out" from drinking too much.

Cordle also told Fais that he has not drunk alcohol since the night of the accident, and he attended a two-week alcohol rehabilitation program.

Cordle made headlines after a video was posted to YouTube on September 3 in which he confessed to driving while drunk and killing 61-year-old Vincent Canzani. In the video, he promised he would plead guilty and "take full responsibility for everything I've done to Vincent and his family." He also begged people watching the video not to drink and drive.

DUI confession message: Don't be like me

Several days after the video appeared, Cordle surrendered to authorities and was charged for his involvement in the wrong-way crash.

Canzani was driving a Jeep when he was struck by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 670 near Columbus, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Fais said in court Monday that he had not seen the video of Cordle's confession.

Cordle will be sentenced October 10. Ron O'Brien, the attorney who is prosecuting the case, told CNN that Cordle faces a maximum sentence of 8½ years in prison for his charges.

Opinion: Online confessions -- morally admirable, legally damaging

YouTube confession: Sincere or slick manipulation?

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