“My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession.”
A powerful line from Cordle’s video confession that went viral last week after being posted on Sept. 3 on the website Becauseisaidiwould.com, a website that asks its users to actually fulfill their promises.
At the time the 22-year-old had not been charged with a crime, but was a suspect in the deadly crash. The video itself is well produced and begins with Cordle’s face blurred as he tells his story about drinking heavily with a friend then driving and losing control of the vehicle.
Cordle reached out to Alex Sheen of Becauseisaidiwould.com Facebook page with the idea to create this confession video. It was produced and posted before Cordle admitted anything to police.
In the video, Cordle says he wants the video to serve as a warning for others.
"Matthew's ultimate goal was to raise awareness to what are irresponsible actions," said Sheen on AirTalk. "Have a beer or two, the line blurs. Are two OK? Are three OK? That's what we're doing across the country, and it's a serious issue. He's reformed my behavior and I'm hoping that this video does the same for others."
While some people see this as a testament to Cordle’s integrity and character, others are not so sure it's entirely genuine. Some might argue that Cordle is just hoping to get off on a lighter sentence or to gain a level of fame from the widely distributed video.
However, Jack Marshall of the ethics training firm ProEthics disagrees with the criticism.
"I think it is always superb from an ethical standpoint when someone who knows they committed a crime and knows they did something wrong goes to the justice system and admits that straight out," said Marshall on AirTalk. "Very many altruistic acts are self-serving, all ethical acts do make you feel good about yourself...you don't cancel out the benefit of an ethical act by saying it makes you feel better."
For now, the video has not kept Cordle out of trouble. Cordle was indicted Monday for aggravated vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony. His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, and he faces up to more than eight years in prison.
What are the implications of posting a confession video online? Is this good for society? Is Cordle seeking a lighter sentence by gaining public sympathy? Will others learn from his mistake, or is he seeking notoriety?
Alex Sheen, founder of Becauseisaidiwould.com, produced Matthew Cordle’s confession video
Jack Marshall, president of ProEthics, an ethics training firm based outside Washington DC, former prosecutor