Government won’t seek death penalty against Utah man

The United States will not seek the death penalty against a Utah man facing trial in the death of his wife aboard a cruise ship in Southeast Alaska.

Court documents released Friday note the U.S. Attorney’s Office decision.  

Kenneth Manzanares pleaded not guilty to a federal charge in the first-degree murder of his wife, Kristy Manzanares, aboard the Emerald Princess. 

Alaska does not have the death penalty at the state level, but the federal death penalty is legal in all 50 states. The case is being tried in federal court because the death occurred in territorial waters. 

A status conference is scheduled for noon Nov. 29. The trial is scheduled to begin April 2018. 

If convicted, the defendant could face life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 

It’s extremely rare for federal death penalty cases in Alaska to reach sentencing. Most are resolved prior to sentencing. 

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