Matthew Perna, who had pleaded guilty to four charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the Capitol, committed suicide while awaiting sentencing.
The Mercer County Coroner's Office in Pennsylvania said Perna killed himself Friday at his residence, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. No details were provided.
According to the Law & Crime website, Perna, 37, entered the Capitol after the doors already had been breached by demonstrators.
The website, attributing the information to prosecutors, said Perna stayed in the building for about 20 minutes. He was seen on video chanting with the crowd.
"Matthew Lawrence Perna died on February 25, 2022, of a broken heart," his obituary said. "His community (which he loved), his country, and the justice system killed his spirit and his zest for life. Matt was an amazing man! In his 37 years, he experienced more than most people do their entire lives. He graduated from Sharpsville High School in 2002, then went on to graduate from Penn State University.
"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."
Perna was scheduled to be sentenced on April 1.
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