Who was Matthew Perna? Capitol rioter with 'broken heart' dies by suicide over case
A Capitol rioter died by suicide while he waited for sentencing as “the justice system killed his spirit and his zest for life", his kin said. Matthew Perna, who pled guilty in December to four charges related to the attempted insurrection, was dying from a “broken heart” over his case before he killed himself on February 25.
“The constant delays in hearings, and postponements dragged out for over a year. Because of this, Matt’s heart broke and his spirit died,” said his obituary in The Herald. “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 added.
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Court records show that 37-year-old Perna drove to Washington on January 6 to attend former President Donald Trump's rally. "He attended the rally on Jan. 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). 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," his obituary said.
Who was Matthew Perna?
Perna lived in Thailand and South Korea during his life. The Pennsylvania man attended Central Community Church in Transfer, PA and taught English to school children. According to the obituary, Perna liked running long-distance races and held several medals. He owned a library with an extensive collection of books.
"Matt is survived by his loving Father, Lawrence (Sharpsville), his brother Steven (Nederland, CO), his Grandmother Rosie Garzoni (Hermitage), and several aunts, Uncles and cousins who will never stop missing him. He was preceded in death by his amazing Mother Roni, his Grandparents Henry and Millie Perna, as well as his Grandfather Frank J. Garzoni. Matt had a very special relationship with Frank J who he greatly admired and missed very much," said the obituary.
At the time of the riot, Perna was reportedly seen wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hoodie and chanting “USA!”. The FBI said that it found a video of him walking “right into the Capitol building” with in an attempt to expose former Vice President Mike Pence as a “traitor”. Perna admitted to the FBI that he was at the Capitol for a short while but claimed that had to enter the building only because he was pushed inside by a crowd. He pled guilty to all four charges and was due to be sentenced April 1 in the US District Court District of Columbia in DC.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).