Former Boulder deputies sentenced for fatal encounter with 23-year-old

Local News

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Two former Boulder County Deputies were sentenced Thursday after they were found guilty of manslaughter for how they handled an intoxicated 23-year-old back in Sept. 2018. 

James O’Brien and Adam Lunn were sentenced to six years and three years in prison, respectively.

Body camera video captured the night deputies O’Brien and Lunn transported the intoxicated 23-year-old.  

On Sept 8, 2018, the deputies were taking Demetrius Shankling to a detox center.  

The body camera video shows the deputies put Shankling on his face inside the cramped van. Then, 16-minutes later, deputies arrived at the detox center they found Shankling unresponsive and not breathing.

He was placed on life support but died 27 days later at a Denver hospital.

An autopsy revealed Shankling died from positional asphyxia based on how he was positioned in the van.

The deputies’ lawyer argued this was an accident and said you could tell from the video, the two deputies were extremely concerned when they found him unconscious.

However, a judge ruled it was deputies who caused his death. O’Brien and Lunn were convicted in August of 2021. 

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