Former Lake County coroner guilty of official misconduct

Posted at 2:36 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 16:50:42-04

LEADVILLE, Colo. — The former Lake County coroner, who resigned from office earlier this year, was found guilty of second-degree official misconduct, a petty offense.

Shannon Kent, 45, was convicted by a jury Friday and sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation for sending his wife, Staci, to several death scenes in 2019, although she was not a deputy coroner at the time. He was acquitted of a second charge of perjury.

In addition to his coroner duties, Kent, along with Staci, operated six funeral homes in Colorado. Several of the funeral homes owned by the Kents were shut down in 2020.

While this case is closed, the former coroner is facing additional charges, including abuse of a corpse and official misconduct, stemming from mortuary services he provided at those funeral homes and will be back in Lake County court later this month.

Staci will also appear in Lake County Court in September on a motions hearing for charges of corpse abuse, cremation-unlawful acts, first-degree perjury and forgery of a public record.

Denver7 Investigates reviewed a dozen body camera video clips from law enforcement agencies when conducting searches of the Kent’s Leadville home in October and February. In one of those searches, four bodies were found in the funeral home, including one that had been on site since 2013 and a baby that was so badly decomposed it could not be identified.

The Kents were arrested Feb. 18 in Leadville on suspicion of tampering with a deceased human body after authorities found remains in a coffin at their Silverthorne funeral home. They both are facing a jury trial in November in Summit County for those charges.

Records reviewed by Denver7 Investigates show complaints about Shannon Kent’s funeral homes date back to 2018. Significant complaints were filed at the start of 2020, but Kent was not shut down until November, just days after the first search on the family’s Leadville home.

Kent submitted his resignation in April.