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Former Lake County coroner sentenced to 180 days in jail

Shannon Kent pleaded guilty to two counts related to the mishandling of the corpse of a stillborn baby
Posted at 6:16 PM, Feb 02, 2023

LEADVILLE, Colo. — A former Lake County coroner was sentenced to 180 days in jail Thursday related to mishandling the corpse of a stillborn baby in his funeral home.

Shannon Kent, 47, pleaded guilty in December to two misdemeanor counts of unlawful cremation acts, according to the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Kent was elected as Lake County coroner in 2014 and resigned in April 2021. He and his wife also operated multiple funeral homes in the Leadville and Silverthorne areas. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies suspended Kent’s license in December 2020.

Kent was facing 12 additional charges that were dismissed.

RELATED: Lake County coroner faces 14 new charges in connection with Leadville funeral home

The sentencing is related to Kent’s handling of the remains of a stillborn baby in 2019. The parents of the deceased baby complained to law enforcement that they suspected the cremains they received was not of their child. They also did not receive proper paperwork, such as a death certificate, from Kent.

A study of the cremains revealed that what the family received included remains of at least two people, along with other material.

Kent was found guilty of second-degree official misconduct in 2021 and received six months unsupervised probation. In 2022, Kent and his wife were found not guilty of charges related to the handling of the remains of a truck driver who died in 2020.

“While today brought about the close of Shannon Kent’s criminal cases, we recognize that the parents of this tragedy are still living with this open wound. There are no words sufficient to capture the grief and anguish they have been put through from the loss of their son, and the complete lack of both respect and dignity they were shown by Shannon Kent,” Fifth Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum said in a statement.

Denver7 Investigates published a series of reports in 2021 regarding Kent and the criminal investigations into his actions. Body camera video from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office from a raid, obtained exclusively by Denver7, showed the inside of one of Kent’s funeral homes. One deputy is heard calling the facility a “house of horrors.”

During Thursday’s sentencing, Judge Catherine Cheroutes called Kent “entitled and arrogant” and said that jail time is justified.