Monday, September 4, 2023

Recently Arrested Jan. 6 Defendant Dies

Recently Arrested Jan. 6 Defendant Dies

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on June 1, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) 

A man arrested for entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has died, according to prosecutors and family members.

Nejourde Meacham, known as Jord, passed away on Aug. 28.

No cause of death was disclosed in an obituary, social media posts by relatives, or a court filing by prosecutors.

A lawyer representing Mr. Meacham, 22, of Utah, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Meacham was arrested in August on four misdemeanors, including knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so.

Footage from surveillance cameras and people inside the Capitol showed Mr. Meacham entering the building on Jan. 6, 2021, while carrying a flag indicating support for then-President Donald Trump.

Mr. Meacham spent approximately nine minutes inside before being escorted out by law enforcement officers, the footage showed.

Mr. Meacham was not accused of carrying out any violence.

He was charged with misdemeanors for allegedly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct on the Capitol grounds or in Capitol buildings "with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct" of Congress.

Members of Congress were in discussing challenges to electoral votes, which they had convened to certify, when the Capitol was breached.

Mr. Meacham on Aug. 15 appeared by video in front of a federal judge, after which he was released on his own recognizance.

His arraignment was scheduled for Sept. 11.

Prosecutors said in a filing on Sept. 1 that they were seeking to end prosecution of Mr. Meacham because he had died.

A police report from the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office detailed the death, which was confirmed by pretrial services and defense counsel, prosecutors said. The sheriff's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In these file photographs from surveillance footage, Nejourde Meacham walks inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (US DOJ via The Epoch Times)
In these file photographs from surveillance footage, Nejourde Meacham walks inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (US DOJ via The Epoch Times)

Family Remembers

Family members said in the obituary that Mr. Meacham worked on his family's ranch, where he enjoyed outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and riding horses.

"He was a big history buff and was a good cook—soup being his specialty. Listening to music was a big part of his life and young kids were drawn to him," relatives wrote.

Mr. Meacham spent summers working at a fishery in Alaska and made many friendships there, they added.

Among relatives surviving Mr. Meacham are his parents and nine siblings.

Kelli Meacham, the deceased's mother, posted details of his Sept. 2 funeral and said all were welcome.

"We really appreciate all of the support we are receiving," she wrote on Facebook.

Matthew Perna in a file image. (Courtesy of Geri Perna)
Matthew Perna in a file image. (Courtesy of Geri Perna)

Other Deaths

At least three other Jan. 6 defendants have died.

Matthew Perna, 37, of Pennsylvania, committed suicide in 2022 ahead of his sentencing. Mr. Perna's death was blamed by family members on the delays in his case and the anxiety it caused.

The last delay moved his sentencing hearing from March 3, 2022, to April 1, 2022, at the request of prosecutors.

“When that phone call came, he had not one ounce of hope left, none," his aunt, Geri Perna, told The Epoch Times. “It crushed him. I called him on the phone, and he was sobbing."

Mark Aungst, 47, of Pennsylvania, also died in 2022 ahead of sentencing. Local law enforcement officers found him dead after going to his residence to conduct a welfare check, according to a court filing. A coroner determined that Mr. Aungst killed himself.

Christopher Stanton Georgia, 53, of Georgia, died by suicide in early 2021 shortly after being arrested for entering the Capitol.

None of the men were accused of carrying out violent crimes.

Joseph M. Hanneman contributed to this report.

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