Matthew Perna was 37 years old. On February 25, 2022 Matt hung himself in his garage, leaving behind his family who are completely devastated. Matt was a January 6 Peaceful Protester who went to DC that day with the hopes that the election would not be certified and a celebration of historic proportions would occur. He walked through a previously opened door, with a crowd of people pushing behind him. The police stood to the side, and ushered him and the others in (all caught on video). He walked through the Rotunda filming live from his phone, and stayed within the velvet ropes. He did not touch, steal, or break anything. He had no altercations with anyone.

When the FBI posted his picture on their website days later, Matt immediately turned himself in and answered all of their questions honestly. Matt did not have a violent bone in his body. He had a kind, sweet spirit and hoped that the truth would be revealed, and charges would be dropped. That did not happen. Instead they charged him with a felony of obstruction of congress, even though he entered the building 45 minutes after congress had adjourned and evacuated. The media were ruthless. He lost his friends, his income, and the support of his community. The months that followed were gruesome. Hearings were constantly delayed and cancelled. Matt's attorney kept telling him not to worry, that he would not serve any jail time. Prior to his arrest he had never had a parking ticket. He earned a good living, and was a well respected individual. 

During that year, Matt had become a shell of his former self. He no longer did the things he enjoyed. He was an avid runner, photographer, and world traveler. He loved people, and had had a giving heart. He reached the point when he no longer would leave his house, except to visit his Aunt or his Dad. He lost weight, and began throwing up blood. He suffered from horrible nightmares and developed a stutter when he spoke. He lost his zest for life, and it was truly heartbreaking to witness.

His attorney encouraged him to plead guilty because he felt Matt was not strong enough to stand trial, and he said that he would not receive a fair trial in DC. He told him that the worst sentence he would receive would be 6 to 12 months in a federal prison camp. So, Matt agreed to plead guilty, even though he did nothing wrong. Matt just wanted this to all end, serve his time and move on with his life. So he was scheduled to be sentenced on March 3, 2022, but on February 21, 2022 he phoned his attorney because he had a bad feeling about the hearing. It was then that his attorney informed him that the justice department was going to add "enhancements" that would drastically increase his prison sentence. They did not have any new evidence, they were merely trying to exaggerate the existing charges to take his sentence to 51 to 72 months. This was more than Matt could handle. He killed himself. 

Matt was a generous soul who helped more people than we will ever know. Every week we hear from someone who shares an amazing story about how Matt changed their lives. He was so humble and kind and we would like to continue that legacy for him by establishing The Matthew Perna Foundation. To implement a nonprofit organization, it cost several thousand dollars and your help is greatly appreciated. Once the foundation is started, the funds will be used for humanitarian causes on a local and global scale. A scholarship program will also be implemented, as Matt was very intelligent and was constantly studying and learning every day. Matt is gone, and is sadly missed by many...but he will NEVER be forgotten!