POLICE

Utah man sentenced to 30 years in death of wife on cruise

Jun 3, 2021, 9:43 PM
Utah man sentenced...
FILE - This July 26, 2017 file photo shows the Emerald Princess cruise ship docked in Juneau, Alaska. A federal judge on Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska, sentenced Kenneth Manzanares charged with first-degree murder to 30 years in prison for the beating death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares while aboard the ship on a cruise to Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
(AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Utah man was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison in the beating death of his wife on an Alaska cruise in 2017, with a federal judge describing the crime as violent and brutal.

Prosecutors had sought life in prison for Kenneth Manzanares, who pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares. His attorneys requested 7 1/2 years.

Kenneth Manzanares looked back briefly, toward where two of his daughters sat in the courtroom, before being led out after U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess announced his decision.

Manzanares’ attorneys, in a court filing, said he had brain abnormalities that a defense expert deemed consistent with injuries caused by playing contact sports. This, combined with what was at the time an undiagnosed bipolar disorder and “a problematic combination of prescribed medication and alcohol resulted in an aberrant episode of violence,” the filing states.

But Burgess said there was competing evidence offered about Manzanares’ culpability and that experts had failed to show what factors led to the crime.

Prosecutors had disputed the defense’s medical claims and in court documents described Manzanares’ actions as intentional, “triggered by his wife telling him she wanted him to leave the cruise ship and that she wanted a divorce.” Prosecutors said Kristy Manzanares told her husband that she wanted a divorce during an argument about his behavior on the night of her death.

Prosecutors said Kenneth Manzanares had issues with anger and that he had acknowledged restraining his wife in the past and punching holes in walls. Defense attorneys said the couple had a “long and happy marriage,” and Jamie McGrady, a federal public defender representing Manzanares, accused prosecutors of selectively parsing details from statements Manzanares made to try to paint him as someone who was abusive.

Burgess said Kristy Manzanares’ life was “viciously ended” by her husband, in an attack partly witnessed by two of the couple’s children. Kristy Manzanares’ brothers and father, who also were on the cruise, responded to and witnessed the scene afterward, according to prosecution documents.

The plea agreement Manzanares signed allows for an appeal of “the reasonableness” of the sentence. McGrady told The Associated Press an appeal would be filed.

She called the sentence a tragedy and said the judge ignored scientific evidence.

Manzanares’ attorneys, in a court filing last month, asked Burgess to consider the wishes of the Manzanares children, who they said hold their father responsible but “also understand that his impairments played a major factor in the events that occurred, and they have already lost one parent.”

Two daughters who gave statements during the emotional first day of the sentencing hearing on Wednesday spoke about their father but did not speak to a specific sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt said Manzanares was held accountable. While it wasn’t the sentence prosecutors sought, “hopefully the healing process can begin” for the family, he said.

A statement released by Kristy Manzanares’ family said the ruling “brings us neither joy nor anger. Rather, simply a sense of resolution. We believe that the court made a fair and just determination. However, the legal system does not and is not intended to fill the emotional void of our loss.”

“While this marks the end of another chapter of this unimaginable ordeal, the fact is that Kristy’s three girls are still without both of their parents, and our focus now is to support them as best we can,” the statement says.

Today’s Top Stories

Police

Anderson was arrested the morning of Sept. 24, 2022, by West Valley Police on felony child sexual a...
Waverly Golden

First grade teacher in Magna arrested on felony child sexual abuse charges

Elk Run Elementary first grade teacher Dale Anderson was arrested this morning on felony child sexual abuse charges.
1 day ago
The Nephi City Police said in a Facebook post that a man was luring children to his vehicle yesterd...
Waverly Golden

Be on lookout for suspicious vehicle in Nephi

The Nephi City Police said in a Facebook post that a man was luring children to his vehicle yesterday afternoon.
1 day ago
motorhome crash...
Mark Jones

Motorhome crash in Box Elder County claims the life of one person

A motorhome crash Friday afternoon in Box Elder County claimed the life of the driver.
2 days ago
Photo courtesy Lehi City Police Department...
Mark Jackson and Elizabeth Weiler

Lehi City unveils art honoring fallen deputy

LEHI CITY, Utah — In 2001, Officer Joe Adams was killed in the line of duty at a traffic stop involving a drunk driver. Now, 21 years later, Lehi City has come together to honor him. Officer Adams is the only police ever to have been killed in the line of duty for Lehi City […]
2 days ago
(Getty Images)...
Mark Jones

Vernal student detained by police after allegedly bringing gun to school

A student in Vernal is in custody after police say he allegedly brought a weapon to Vernal Middle School on Thursday. Police say the suspect had a plan and a target.
3 days ago
Handgun that was fired near minors...
Alejandro Lucero

Man arrested for allegedly shooting gun near minors following altercation

Siupapa Muliaga, 21, was arrested by Salt Lake City police officers early this morning for allegedly firing a weapon near minors.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Utah man sentenced to 30 years in death of wife on cruise