Coroner Faces Charges From Grand Jury
Kent To Have Day in Court
Last Friday, Sept. 6, Lake County Coroner Shannon Kent was indicted by a Fifth Judicial District Grand Jury for the petty criminal offense of Second Degree Official Misconduct.
In a media advisory distributed by Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown, “the charge stems from sending the coroner’s wife, to respond to numerous deaths scenes during 2019 when she was not a sworn deputy.” It’s important to note that while a grand jury plays an important role in the criminal process, it is NOT one that involves a finding of guilt or punishment of a party.
“While I cannot speak to the media at this point in the proceedings by the advice of my attorney,” stated Kent in a phone interview with Leadville Today, “I will have my day in court and be able to present my side of the story.”
Grand Juries can act in very much the same capacity as preliminary hearings and are meant to determine whether there is enough evidence, or probable cause to indict a criminal suspect. In this case, the evidence presented against Kent, led the jury to believe there was enough evidence to move forward to a trail.
By state statute under CRS 18-8-404, second-degree official misconduct is a class 1 petty offense. The penalties for second-degree official misconduct include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
According to the statement released from Brown’s office, “Chief Judge Mark Thompson of the Fifth Judicial District received the Indictment and a court date in Lake County is pending assignment by the Lake County Court Clerk. A summons for the Coroner’s voluntary attendance to answer to the charges will issue, in lieu of any arrest warrant.”
Lake County Coroner Shannon Kent was first appointed to the office in 2012. Since then he has been elected coroner to two, four-year terms in 2014 (unopposed) and again in 2018. Shannon and his wife Staci Kent own and operate the Kent Funeral homes located in Leadville and serving Central Colorado, including mountain communities in Chaffee, Clear Creek, Eagle, Gilpin, Lake, Park and Summit Counties. During his tenure as both elected coroner and Leadville mortician and funeral home director, no ethics or criminal concerns have ever come across the Leadville Today news desk until Monday’s press release distributed by John Bryan from DA Brown’s Fifth Judicial District.
UPDATE: The Lake County District Court has set a for the Lake County Coroner for October 1 at 10:30 a.m.
HRRMC to Hold Job Fair Sept. 12
The Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center and the Salida Workforce Center are hosting a hiring event on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 3-6 p.m., in the Salida hospital café, 1000 Rush Drive. There will be on-site interviews for full- and part-time positions in Environmental Services, Dietary and Registration. Sign-on bonuses are offered for Environmental Services and Dietary jobs. Preregistration is required for this hiring event, and applicants must be able to pass a background check and drug test. To preregister for the job fair, call the Salida Workforce Center at 719-530-5980. For more information about the positions at HRRMC, contact HR Recruitment Specialist Theresa Jimerson at 719-530-2380.