Following an appearance before a grand jury in December, both Shannon Kent and his wife, Staci Kent, are facing charges of perjury in the first degree.
The charges stem from statements both made at a grand jury hearing in August 2019 to the effect that Shannon Kent, Lake County coroner, performed an oath of office for Staci Kent as a deputy coroner some time in the middle of 2017.
According to the most recent grand jury indictment, the coroner oath would not be valid because it was not filed with the county clerk as prescribed by law and was given by a person not authorized to give a deputy coroner oath of office.
Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said Tuesday that the perjury charge is a felony and is punishable by a sentence of up to six years.
Both Kents were in county court Tuesday for arraignments; however, these were postponed due to representation issues. The arraignments are now set for Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. and the cases have been moved to district court. Unless something interferes, Brown will prosecute, he said.
During the August hearing before the grant jury, Kent was indicted for allegedly sending his wife to respond to coroner call-outs. Kent was charged with one count of second-degree official misconduct, a charge that still stands.
Along with the charge of perjury in the first degree, Staci Kent faces a charge of forgery related to a certificate of death issued for Thomas Oliver Osvold.
Shannon Kent has served as Lake County coroner since 2012 and was re-elected to a four-year term in November 2018.