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Former Lake County coroner found not guilty after remains found in coffin

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Posted at 9:59 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 23:59:00-04

DENVER — The former Lake County coroner and his wife were found not guilty of attempted tampering with a deceased human body and abuse of a corpse. A jury came back with the not-guilty verdict against Shannon and Staci Kent Tuesday.

The Kents were arrested on Feb. 18, 2021, in Leadville after authorities found remains in a coffin at their Silverthorne funeral home. The found remains were of Victor Akubuo, 42, a truck driver from California who died in a car accident in Park County on July 30, 2020.

Shannon Kent was convicted last year of second-degree official misconduct for sending his wife 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. He was sentenced to six months of probation.

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. Records reviewed by Denver7 Investigates show complaints about the funeral homes date back to 2018.

Denver7 Investigates reviewed a dozen body camera video clips from law enforcement agencies when conducting searches of the Kents' Leadville home. 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.

Shannon Kent resigned from his position as the Lake County coroner in April 2021.