‘Driven to suicide’: Jan. 6 protester takes own life awaiting sentence for entering Capitol

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Matthew Lawrence Perna was convicted two months ago for “storming the Capitol” during the January 6 riots, as the media described his actions, after ultimately throwing himself at the mercy of the court. He was awaiting sentencing in April, potentially facing years in prison.

Perna, 37, of Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, will never learn what his sentence would have been or spend any time in prison because he is now dead, the apparent victim of suicide. According to his obituary, Perna died of “a broken heart.”

More than 725 people have been arrested as part of an extensive, nationwide dragnet by the FBI, the vast majority guilty of little more than trespassing in the “People’s House.” Acts of violence did take place on Jan. 6 and should be prosecuted, but many of the protesters charged were nonviolent and some were denied bail, forced to languish in poor conditions in a DC gulag, often in solitary confinement. A number of these prisoners have alleged abusive treatment from guards.

In the eyes of the rational, this is little more than political persecution to further the Democratic narrative that an insurrection took place on January 6. A narrative that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Democratic Party are hoping pays dividends in the coming midterm elections — at the expense of the lives of those charged, political opponents, primarily Donald Trump supporters, being ruined.

After pleading guilty in November to four counts, including one felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding, Perna was scheduled to be sentenced on April 1 before U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, according to WUSA9. Other defendants who’ve pleaded guilty to the same felony obstruction charge have faced recommended sentences of upward of two years in prison.

“Matthew Lawrence Perna died on Friday, February 25, 2022 of a broken heart. His community, which he loved, his country and the justice system killed his spirit and his zest for life,” his obituary said.

Offering a different take on his activities at the Capitol, the announcement referenced a scene captured on video, that being Capitol Police essentially ushering protesters into the building.

“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,” the announcement stated. “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,” the obituary continued. “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.”

Until the very end, and beyond, Perna’s family supported him.

“Matt’s family stood by him during this devastating ordeal and are extremely proud of his passion for life and his pursuit of many dreams,” the announcement concluded. “His actions last year are not looked down upon, instead his family is grateful and humbled by his courage. They say God never gives anyone more than they can handle. That statement is not Biblical, nor is it true. Rest Easy Matt, you are finally FREE!”

Here’s a sampling of responses to the story from Twitter, to include one assessment that Perna was “driven to suicide” by his own government:

Tom Tillison


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