Capitol Rioter, Penn State Grad Dies By Suicide Month Before Sentencing

A Pennsylvania man charged in the US Jan. 6 Capitol riot died by suicide a month before he was set to be sentenced, according to the Mercer County coroner's office.

Matthew Lawrence Perna

Matthew Lawrence Perna

Photo Credit: FBI/USDOJ/Facebook

Matthew Lawrence Perna, 37, died on Friday, Feb. 25 after taking his own life at his home, the coroner’s office says. His sentencing date was set for Friday, April 1, in the US District Court District of Columbia court records show.

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, according to multiple releases by the US Department of Justice. 

Perna filmed himself inside the Capitol building for 20 minutes and posted it to social media, federal investigators say. 

He told investigators he was pushed into the building by other rioters and was surprised the door to enter was unlocked.

Perna's death is being tied to his perceived sense of betrayal by his county “his community (which he loved), his country, and the justice system killed his spirit and his zest for life,” as written in his obituary.

The obituary went on to state that he immediately turned himself in, although USDOJ statements show he was arrested on Jan. 19, and the circumstances were not released. 

Perna was a 2002 graduate of Sharpsville High School and went on to graduate from Penn State University, according to his obituary.

Perna "loved to travel and lived in Thailand and South Korea during his life, teaching English to school children. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, South America, India, and the United States of America making lasting friendships everywhere he went. He went on a mission trip to Haiti," as stated in his obituary.

He most recently worked at BEMER USA, a technology company based in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, his LinkedIn shows.

He is survived by his father Lawrence of Sharpsville; his brother Steven of Nederland, CO; his Grandmother Rosie Garzoni of Hermitage; extended family; numerous friends and colleagues, according to his obituary.

His viewings are being held at John Flynn Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. 2630 East State Street Hermitage on Tuesday, Mar. 1, 4 - 7 p.m., Wednesday, Mar. 2, 10 - 10:45 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m., the obituary shows.

Memorial contributions are being made in his name to may be made to the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter, 2599 Broadway Rd, Hermitage, PA 16148, according to the obituary.

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