(CBS4) - On Tuesday afternoon a jury in Clear Creek County found Shannon and Staci Kent not guilty on all charges of abuse of a corpse and tampering with a deceased body. The court action came after the case was declared a mistrial twice before.
"We have maintained our honestly throughout all of this process and will continue to do so," Shannon Kent told Mountain Newsroom Reporter Spencer Wilson after the verdict came down. "Additionally, I would want people to understand that the family that was caught in the middle of this case is suffering and we feel for them."
Kent was referencing Victor Akubuo's family in his statement. After Akubuo died in a Park County tractor-trailer crash in late July of 2020, his body became the focus of the allegations leveled against the Kents.
Arresting officers in Silverthorne pushed to charge the Kents with abuse of a corpse and tampering with a deceased body after Akubuo's corpse was left at a funeral home for months on end, but the defense in the case effectively argued the Kents made steps to prepare the body the best they could while trying to transport him back to his family in Africa. They were unable to ship the body because of COVID-19 restrictions put in place. According to the Summit Daily, a witness for the defense also mentioned they treated the body with stronger embalming practices in order to preserve him for the extended time they estimated it would take to get the body home.
The judge in the case gave credit to the jury for paying close attention to the presentations from the attorneys and called it a "well tried case."
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