Former Lake County Coroner gets probation after official misconduct conviction
Shannon Kent receives first sentencing in ongoing cases against him and his wife
Former Lake County coroner Shannon Kent has been sentenced to six months of probation after he was found guilty of second degree official misconduct for allowing his wife to assume the duties of deputy coroner before actually placing her in the role.
A jury found Shannon Kent, 45, of Leadville, guilty of misconduct, a Class 1 petty offense, in a verdict delivered Friday, but acquitted him of a second charge of perjury, a Class 4 felony.
The charges were brought against him after he allowed his wife, Staci Kent, to respond in an official capacity to “several death scenes“ between March and July of 2019, before she was appointed as deputy coroner, according to a press release from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
In Sept. 2019, Shannon Kent testified that his wife had acted as deputy coroner for about two years prior to when he filed her appointment to the role with the Lake County Clerk’s Office in July 2019.
A litany of other charges have been brought against the couple for their alleged negligence in the management of several Colorado funeral homes they owned, including Kent Funeral Home in Gypsum.
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All six businesses were shut down last year due to allegations of “having an unrefrigerated body, found bags of unlabeled cremains, and an abandoned still born infant,” according to the press release.
In December of last year, Shannon Kent signed a voluntary agreement with state regulators that closed the homes and mandated that he never again work in the funeral home or cremation business in Colorado.
The Kents were arrested in Leadville on Feb. 18, 2021, after police found a deceased person in a coffin at the former Kent-Bailey Funeral Home in Silverthorne, which they “believed to have been there for several months, decaying,” according to the release from the District Attorney’s Office.
Staci Kent faces two misdemeanor charges — corpse abuse and cremation-unlawful acts. She also faces two felony charges — first degree perjury, a Class 4 felony, and forgery of a public record filed with a public official, a Class 5 felony. She is set to appear in Lake County Court on the morning of Sept. 23 and will have a motions hearing on the afternoon of Sept. 27.
Shannon Kent faces several other charges in Lake County including abuse of a corpse — a Class 6 felony — and official misconduct — a Class 2 misdemeanor.
He has also been indicted on “other unlawful acts regarding mortuary services and providing false health/medical information and certificates,” according to the release. His next court appearance is set for the morning of Sept. 23 in Lake County.
Shannon Kent resigned from his position as Lake County’s coroner at the end of April 2021. He and his wife both pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them at a May hearing in Summit County. They are set for a jury trial in Summit County Nov. 15-19.
Tom Lotshaw and Pam Boyd contributed earlier reporting.
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