Jan. 6 Defendant Takes His Own Life, Died of ‘Broken Heart,’

By Joseph M. Hanneman, The Epoch Times

Family says Matthew Perna, 37, was prosecuted for his 20-minute walk through the US Capitol. 

Matthew L. Perna, a Pennsylvania man prosecuted for his 20-minute walk through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, took his own life on Feb. 25 due to “a broken heart” and a justice system that “killed his spirit and his zest for life,” his family said

Perna, 37, of Sharpsville, was due to be sentenced on April 1 in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in a plea agreement on charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building. One charge is a felony and the others are misdemeanours.

Perna learned that prosecutors would seek an even longer jail sentence based on “domestic terrorism deterrence,” Julie Kelly of American Greatness wrote on Twitter on Sunday night. “His community (which he loved), his country, and the justice system killed his spirit and his zest for life,” his online obituary reads. “He didn’t break, touch, or steal anything. He did not harm anyone, as he stayed within the velvet ropes taking pictures,” the obituary said. “For this act, he has been persecuted by many members of his community, friends, relatives, and people who had never met him.

‘His Spirit Died’

“The constant delays in hearings and postponements dragged out for over a year,” the obituary said. “Because of this, Matt’s heart broke and his spirit died, and many people are responsible for the pain he endured.

“Matt did not have a hateful bone in his body. He embraced people of all races, income brackets, and beliefs, never once berating anyone for having different views.” Geri Perna, Matthew Perna’s aunt, said the tragedy was “beyond devastating.” “He was the kindest person you ever met,” Geri told The Epoch Times. “He was not like some of those rioters who went there acting obnoxious. No, that wasn’t our Matthew.”

Geri said the family never understood why the U.S. Department of Justice filed a felony charge in the case. “He didn’t have a weapon. He didn’t have an altercation with police officers. He didn’t break anything or steal anything or take anything,” she said.

The prosecutor’s sentencing recommendations have not been posted online yet. Charging documents said Perna and Stephen Ayres entered the Capitol at 2:47 p.m., nearly 30 minutes after Congress adjourned due to rioting, and nearly an hour after Vice President Mike Pence’s motorcade was seen leaving the Capitol, court records show.

Perna remained in the building for 20 minutes, filming with his phone. At one point during his time in the Capitol, a government “statement of facts” asserted on Jan. 18, 2021, Perna “became frustrated and, using a metal pole, tapped on a window of the Capitol building.” Court records do not allege that he damaged the window or any other property, or committed any violent or disruptive acts.

Prosecutors wrote that Perna wore a red Make America Great Again sweatshirt and chanted “USA! USA! USA!” while filming with his phone. Perna later uploaded an 8-minute video to Facebook, in which he allegedly said, “It’s not over, trust me. The purpose of today was to expose Pence as a traitor.” Two unnamed informants who said they were familiar with Perna called the FBI on Jan. 13, 2021, after recognizing him in videos posted online. One alleged that Perna purchased a handgun in the previous several months, court records show. There is no indication Perna had any type of weapon with him on Jan. 6, even if the informant’s allegation was true.

The second informant “believed he (Perna) was a conspiracy theorist and supported Q-Anon,” the FBI said in court documents. Prosecutors described Q as a “sprawling, discredited, anti-establishment conspiracy theory” that says the world is run by “a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles and child trackers.”

Charging documents said the ‘Q’ theory is a “false belief.” Perna approached the FBI on Jan. 14, 2021, as soon as he heard that his photo was posted as No. 73 on the FBI’s Jan. 6 most-wanted list. He met with agents at his home the same day. He told them the Capitol doors were wide open when he approached the building, and that a group behind him and Ayres was pushing forward to get in. Matthew Perna went to Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 to “peacefully stand up for his beliefs,” the obituary said.

Matthew Lawrence Perna was born in March 1984 to Lawrence and Veronica Perna. He graduated from Sharpsville High School in 2002 and later earned a degree from Penn State University. He taught English to children in Thailand and South Korea, his obituary said. He traveled widely in Europe, Asia, South America, India, and around the United States. His mother, Veronica ‘Roni’ Perna, 59, died in March 2015.

Jan. 6 Takes a Grim Toll

One prominent Jan. 6 defendant took to Twitter on Sunday to say he understands the pressure that Perna must have felt with his case dragging on so long.

“I don’t know Matthew Perna, haven’t studied his case or accusations against him. But he’s killed himself & I understand why,” wrote Brandon Straka, the founder of the WalkAway campaign that encourages liberals to leave the Democrat Party. “I had the same thoughts many times this past year. The deafening silence of Republicans & conservative media for people dragged through this hell is unbearable.”

Straka was sentenced in January to three years of probation and fined $5,000 as part of a plea agreement on one count of engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a Capitol building.

Perna’s suicide is a grim reminder of the ongoing toll from Jan. 6 and its aftermath. Ashli Babbitt, 35, was shot and killed by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd just outside the Speaker’s Lobby. Rosanne Boyland, 34, was trapped under a stampede when police released some kind of gas in the Lower West Terrace tunnel and pushed rioters and protesters out, witnesses said. An unconscious Boyland was then beaten repeatedly with a walking stick by Metropolitan Police Department officer Lila Morris, video shows. One of the strikes to Boyland’s head caused her nose to bleed. Her family believes she was still alive when the beating occurred. Another strike caused the walking stick to break. She died on Jan. 6.

Derrick Vargo, 32, alleges he was pushed off the landing between the upper and lower west terraces by a Capitol Police motorcycle officer. Video shows Vargo walking along a narrow ledge outside the balustrade when he was shoved off the wall by an officer and fell some 20 feet. He suffered severe foot and spinal injuries. Vargo plans a lawsuit against Capitol Police. Dozens of defendants charged with alleged Jan. 6 crimes have been held in jail for more than a year while awaiting trial.

Inmates at the Central Detention Facility in DC have said they suffered beatings by guards, been denied food, made to march around the jail carrying their mattresses, punched for singing the National Anthem, and placed in solitary confinement for months.


The article is reproduced in full from Epoch Times, as is made clear at the by-line – without comment from me. The punishment is meant to fit the crime. This story clearly reflects the dangers of State overreach in the administration of justice; that is a threat to democracy and I am especially sensitive to such issues, due to my youthful experiences living under an authoritarian regime.

Australian Parliament House riot 1996

There was no such extreme response to those who set fire to the doors of Australia’s Old Parliament House in December last year (nobody is still in jail waiting for a court date) nor to those who took part in the nasty incident attacking the House when PM Julia Gillard had to be physically bustled away from danger a few years ago. “The 1996 Parliament House riot (also called the Canberra riot) involved a physical attack on Parliament House, Canberra, Australia, on 19 August 1996, when protesters broke away from the “Cavalcade to Canberra” rally organised by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and sought to force their way into the national Parliament of Australia, causing property damage and attacking police.”


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10 Responses to Jan. 6 Defendant Takes His Own Life, Died of ‘Broken Heart,’

  1. Robin Bowles says:

    I don’t have a great deal of empathy/sympathy with anyone who took part in this uprising against a democratically elected government. If we agree with this ‘solution’ to the outcome of an electoral result with which we do not agree, are you advocating Sue Supporters should storm Parliament, or police HQ, or even Risdon Prison, to seek justice for SNF? I don’t think so! I feel sorry for the family of any young person who takes their own life, but that action, nor the one that precipitated it, can’t change locked in decisions. The people in charge don’t care and won’t change and the rest of us weep futilely in silence.

    • Faith216 says:

      I don’t have sympathy for anyone who issues a blanket condemnation without having bothered to research what actually happened on Jan 6. Before condemning anyone who went to D.C. to show support for God’s anointed President, Trump, they should first educate himself/herself by watching the movie titled, Capitol Punishment. He/she just might learn something other than what the MSM has been brainwashing the public with.

  2. Owen allen says:

    If people get sick of me, Owen just shut the fxxx up.
    I won’t shut up until I get a bullet in the forehead. Clean and quick. Or we see Sue Neill_Fraser exonerated, a Royal Commission Tasmania, and a Federal Criminal Case Review Commission. They sent me to hell in Tasmania, but I am protected, and it makes my life worthy; if you get my drift. Unlike their absolute compulsion to destroy lives and peoples identity.

  3. Wilson Muir says:

    Holding a pole and tapping on a window doesn’t sound like a soul who was persecuted for happenstance. If this newsletter is to be for cases of judicial overreach please pick your horses a little bit better than this cowardly conspiracy theorist that refused to take his just desserts. I am not sure if l will take future posts with such an open mind bearing in mind that had Trump succeeded the rules of democracy would be dangling off a jibbet.

    • Rebecca Jo Coy West says:

      Your writing indicates to me that you do not know the entire story. Also indicated is that you do not care to know. You are satisfied with the left-leaning reports you have heard and have formed your opinion. First of all, there was no insurrection. At worst, some true Maga folks were stirred up by Antifa, BLM, and federal agents (it has been proven that these groups infiltrated the crowd that day) to commit some acts of violence. Did you see reporting about the riots of the summer of 2020? Contrast the two. It is a constitutional right to peacefully protest in our country and that’s what President Trump encouraged (listen to his speech). The Democrats have been doing it for years. There is no justification for a police officer to cause someone to fall 20 feet. There is no justification for an older woman to be pushed down some stairs by a police officer. Both events are on video and clear to see. There is no justification for any of the horrors that “We the People” have had forced on us since Biden and his party cheated to get in the White House. Remember, there is always two sides to a story. Don’t be so satisfied by just hearing one side.

    • Rebecca Jo Coy West says:

      It seems to me that you are basing your opinion on one picture (horse). You do realize that there are hours and hours of video and that the democrats and their lackeys in the press only put out what would be the most damaging to the patriots that were protesting that day. I am not totally convinced that the horse you mention was a true patriot. It could very well have been an Antifa or BLM thug. It has been proven that they infiltrated the crowd that day. Then the dems made sure that the stuff that could disprove their side of the story didn’t get out. Now why would they do that if everything was as they say? Two sides to every story, mate.

  4. Christopher says:

    It is amazing how the scum that denigrate the Capital Hill “invasion” have absolutely no problem with the 2014 coup of a democratically elected government in Ukraine.

    Hypocrisy is irremoveable from Western society as long as a degenerate value system is lauded.

  5. Owen allen says:

    Seems to me Andrew, like the world is fxxxxxx.
    Well it is just prophecy being fulfilled.
    The Truth is GOD the CREATOR. It is WRITTEN.

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