Former Lake County coroner Shannon Kent found guilty of official misconduct

Former Lake County coroner Shannon Lee Kent was found guilty by a jury last week of second-degree official misconduct, a petty offense, according to the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Kent, 45, of Leadville, was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation, a news release said. He was acquitted of a perjury charge, a class-four felony.

The charges stemmed from “Kent sending his wife, Staci, to several death scenes in 2019, although she was not a deputy coroner at the time,” the release said. “After a Grand Jury indicted him in September 2019, Kent testified that his wife had acted as the deputy coroner for approximately two years prior to July 16, 2019–the date he filed the valid appointment with the County Clerk’s office.”

Shannon and Staci Kent were arrested on Feb. 18, 2021, in Leadville by Silverthorne police after investigators found a decaying body in a coffin at the former Kent-Bailey Funeral Home in Silverthorne. The body was believed to have been decaying for several months, Tuesday’s news release said. They face a jury trial in the case scheduled for Nov. 15.

Kent resigned as coroner in April. He and his wife face multiple felony charges in ongoing cases.

Shannon Kent’s next Lake County court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 23, where he faces charges including abuse of a corpse, a class 6 felony, and official misconduct, a misdemeanor. The case involves alleged of unlawful acts regarding mortuary services along with allegations of providing false health and medical information and certificates, the release said.

Several funeral homes owned by the Kents were shut down in 2020 after investigators found an unrefrigerated body, bags of unlabeled cremains and an abandoned stillborn infant at his funeral homes in Leadville and Gypsum, according to court documents.

Staci Kent’s next Lake County court dates are scheduled on Sept. 23 and 27. She faces charges of first-degree perjury and forgery of a public record, both felonies, as well as two misdemeanor charges, corpse abuse and cremation unlawful acts.

The 5th Judicial District serves Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties.

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