Utah man sentenced to 30 years in prison for Alaska cruise ship homicide

Passengers wait aboard the Emerald Princess moored on the South Franklin Street Dock in Juneau on Wednesday, July 27, 2017. The FBI investigated an alleged murder after a Utah woman died the day before on the ship.
Passengers wait aboard the Emerald Princess moored on the South Franklin Street Dock in Juneau on Wednesday, July 27, 2017 as the FBI investigated an alleged murder on board. (Photo by Tripp J Crouse/KTOO)

A Utah man was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for killing his wife while on an Alaska cruise.

Kenneth Manzanares, 43, on Thursday was also sentenced to five years of supervised release if he finishes serving out his federal prison term.

Manzanares, his 39-year-old wife Kristy, their three daughters and other relatives were on board the Emerald Princess as it cruised up through Southeast Alaska waters in July 2017.

During a plea agreement hearing in February 2020, Manzanares admitted that he and his wife got into an argument in their cabin. Kristy said she wanted a divorce, and she also wanted Kenneth to get off the ship in Juneau and go home to Utah.

Prosecutors say two of the daughters were then told to leave the room during the argument, but they were prevented from reentering when they later heard Kristy scream. Through an adjoining room’s balcony, the daughters witnessed Kenneth assaulting and beating Kristy.

Manzanares admitted during the plea agreement hearing that he struck his wife with two closed fists.

Prosecutors say she died from blunt force trauma to her head and face.

Manzanares originally pled not guilty in U.S. District Court in Juneau to a first-degree murder charge. But during that February 2020 plea agreement hearing, he pled guilty to second-degree murder.

Matt Miller

Morning Host & Local News Reporter, KTOO

I’m up early every weekday morning pulling together all the news and information you need to start your day. I find the stories unique to Juneau or Southeast Alaska that may linger or become food-for-thought at the end of your day. What information do you need from me to give your day some context?

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