Capitol rioter who was awaiting sentencing, dies by suicide, says coroner

Matthew Perna's "community, which he loved), his nation, and the justice system killed him spirit and his zest to live," his family stated in an obituary.

Capitol rioter who was awaiting sentencing, dies by suicide, says coroner

Officials said that a Capitol rioter committed suicide while he waited for sentencing on the charges of witness tampering and entering and remaining within a restricted building or grounds, and two counts each of disorderly conduct.

His family stated in an Obituary that Matthew Lawrence Perna had died of a broken heart on February 25, 2022. His community, his country and the justice system all took his spirit and zest for life.


 

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Perna, 37 years old, committed suicide at Mercer County Coroner's Office. NBC News reached out to the coroner in an attempt to get his comment.

J. Gerald Ingram (Perna's lawyer) confirmed Perna's suicide.

According to the obituary, Perna was at the Jan. 6th 2021, riot "to peacefully defend his beliefs" and when he learned that the FBI was searching for him, "he immediately surrendered."

In December, he pleaded guilty. Court records show that the sentence was to be delivered on April 1.

Ingram stated that the government had just announced its intention to send Perna an additional sentence enhancement. Perna was mentally frail and could not cope with the stress.

According to the obituary, he entered Capitol through an already opened door. He did not break, touch, or steal anything. Instead, he stayed within the velvet ropes and took pictures.

According to the obituary, "For this act, he was persecuted and abused by many of his friends, relatives, and family members, as well as people who had never met him,"

His death was attributed to the lengthy prosecution.

"The endless delays in hearings and postponements dragged on for more than a year. Matt's spirit was crushed and his heartbroken because of all this," the obituary stated.

Perna traveled from Pennsylvania and Washington to attend the "Stop the Steal” rally of former President Donald Trump. She marched with others to the Capitol followingward, according to a statement to offense.

He claimed to police that he found the door open when he reached the top steps of the building's west-side. He claimed that he was forced into the building by a group of people behind him.

Still images from the building show Perna in a red hoodie with the phrase "Make America Great Again"

He was there for about 20 minutes, and was recorded recording the riot with his phone. He was chanting "USA!" USA!" The statement of offense was made in the presence of the crowd.

He posted the video with two other people in a hotel room on Facebook that same day. According to court documents, he claimed that Antifa members were responsible for the destruction of the Capitol's doors and windows.

Perna, referring to Mike Pence (then Vice President), said that "it's not over, believe me." Today's purpose was to expose Pence for being a traitor.

Perna was among the people whose photos the FBI shared to ask for the public's assistance in identifying them. Perna was recognized by a person who knew Perna and reported him to police. Perna's account on Facebook had posted messages indicating his support of Trump and QAnon.

Perna, a Penn State University graduate, loved to travel. She had lived in Thailand and South Korea before moving to Pennsylvania.

"Matt didn't have a hateful bone" According to the obituary, he was open to all races, income levels, and beliefs. He never once made fun of anyone who held a different view.

Perna's family stood by him during his trial.

The obituary stated that "His actions of last year are not to be looked down upon, rather his family is grateful for his courage."

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