SHARPSVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – A Pennsylvania man charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has died.
Investigators say Matthew Perna, 37, died on February 25 after taking his own life.
The Mercer County Coroner’s Office said Monday his death is under investigation.
Perna was federally indicted in the Capitol riot and pleaded guilty in December to entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, disorderly and disruptive conduct on a restricted building or grounds and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.
Investigators said Perna remained inside the Capitol building for 20 minutes while he filmed and posted to social media video of the riot.
Investigators said Perna admitted to being inside the Capitol but said he was pushed inside by the group. He said he had been at the top of the stairs and was surprised that the door was open.
In an online obituary, the indictment and subsequent persecution of Perna are blamed for his death saying that “his community (which he loved), his country, and the justice system killed his spirit and his zest for life:”
“He attended the rally on January 6, 2021, to peacefully stand up for his beliefs. After learning that the FBI was looking for him, he immediately turned himself in. He entered the Capitol through a previously opened door (he did not break in as was reported) where he was ushered in by police. He didn’t break, touch, or steal anything. He did not harm anyone, as he stayed within the velvet ropes taking pictures. For this act, he has been persecuted by many members of his community, friends, relatives, and people who had never met him. Many people were quietly supportive, and Matt was truly grateful for them. The constant delays in hearings and postponements dragged out for over a year. 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.” the obituary read.
Perna was scheduled for sentencing April 1, in the U.S. District Court District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.).
Perna was one of more than 700 people arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 riots across nearly all 50 states.