Jan. 6 defendant Matthew Perna, 37; ‘Justice system killed his spirit’

by WorldTribune Staff, February 28, 2022

Jan. 6 defendant Matthew Perna, 37, committed suicide on Feb. 25, according to an obituary posted by his family.

“Matthew Lawrence Perna died on 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,” said the obit posted at the John Flynn Funeral Home and Crematory in Hermitage, Pennsylvania.

Matthew Perna

On Jan. 6, 2021, Perna walked in through an open door on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol building shortly before 3 p.m. He left after about 20 minutes.

After he discovered his image on the FBI’s most wanted list for Jan. 6, Perna contacted his local FBI office and voluntarily submitted to questioning. Six FBI agents arrested Perna at his home on Jan. 18.

“His life from that point turned into a nightmare,” Julie Kelly wrote for American Greatness on Feb. 27.

In February of 2021, a grand jury indicted Perna on four counts including obstruction of an official proceeding and trespassing misdemeanors.

“Despite his nonviolent participation in the events of that day — he did not assault anyone, carry a weapon, or vandalize property — Biden’s Justice Department and local news media nonetheless made his life pure hell,” Kelly wrote.

On Friday night, Perna hung himself in his garage.

“They broke him, they mentally broke him,” his aunt, Geri Perna, told Kelly. “He had run out of hope. I know he couldn’t take it any more.”

Perna, who had no previous criminal record, agreed in December to plead guilty to all four counts against him. He and his family expected a prison sentence of less than a year. His sentencing hearing was scheduled for March 3, but Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia handling every Jan. 6 prosecution, intervened and asked the court to delay Perna’s sentencing so his office could make sure Capitol defendants are punished equally, Kelly noted.

“While every case and every defendant are different, the Government is attempting to ensure that similarly situated January 6 defendants are treated in the same manner,” Graves wrote in a motion on February 11. “The Government is attempting to do that in this case and that requires additional time for the Government’s internal review process to be completed.”

Kelly noted: “This was very bad news for Perna. Graves’ office has sought lengthy prison terms for defendants who plead guilty to the obstruction felony. In the case of Jacob Chansley, who, like Perna, committed no violent act on January 6 and was allowed into the building by police, Biden’s Justice Department sought 51 months in jail and three years probation. (Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced him to 41 months.) In sentencing recommendations on obstruction pleas, prosecutors have compared defendants to domestic terrorists and asked judges to act accordingly.”

Perna’s father Larry Perna wrote to Judge John Bates seeking leniency for Matthew: “We lost many friendships after the news was plastered all over the local newspapers. We were no longer comfortable going out in public, something I never in my life thought I would experience in the town where our family was respected and well known. This past year cost Matthew his income, the love of his life, his friendships, and his standing in the community. He will never be the same, and I ask that you take all of this into consideration before sentencing him.”

But, Kelly noted, “that sort of isolation clearly isn’t enough to satisfy Biden’s Justice Department as it continues to seek revenge against Americans who protested Joe Biden’s election on January 6. Federal prosecutors want jail time even for those charged with low-level misdemeanors such as ‘parading’ at the Capitol. (Perna’s original indictment still includes the lie that Kamala Harris was in the building during the protest that day, the basis for thousands of criminal charges. It is unclear whether his lawyer notified the court about the falsehood before accepting the plea offer.)”

The obituary noted that Perna had “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.”

Kelly noted:

In a fair world, local reporters, Matthew Graves and his prosecutors, Judge John Bates and anyone involved in this abusive prosecution would re-evaluate the human cost of what they’re doing and hang their heads in shame. Thousands of lives destroyed—for what? To sooth the fragile ego of Joe Biden and quench the insatiable lust for revenge by the Democratic Party? To notch legal victories to advance Beltway careers? To create clickbait headlines?

But these people have no shame—so no moment of reflection can be expected.

Matthew Perna was failed by the country he loved, demonized by the news media, tormented by the world’s most powerful law enforcement, ignored by political leaders of both parties, and betrayed by a federal judge sworn to defend justice not appease the whims of a vengeful regime.

They all have blood on their hands now.

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