JUNEAU – A Utah man was sentenced today to 30 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for the beating death of his wife during a 2017 family cruise to Alaska.
Kenneth Manzanares, 43, pleaded guilty in February 2020 to the second-degree murder of Kristy Manzanares while onboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship in the U.S. Territorial Waters outside southeast Alaska on July 25, 2017.
“In 2017 Kenneth Manzanares brutally murdered his wife Kristy Manzanares while on an Alaskan cruise with their three daughters and extended family members. This was not a random act of violence but a chilling neglect for human life for which he will serve 30 years in federal prison, where there is no parole ever,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Wilson of the District of Alaska.
“While today’s sentence will not bring Kristy back to her family and friends, we hope it provides a sense of justice for this heinous crime and brings some closure to those who knew and cared about her.”
“No excuse can justify the savagery committed by this man, who will now spend the next three decades behind bars,” said Robert Britt, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Anchorage Field Office. “The FBI worked tirelessly, with the support of our partners, to seek justice for Kristy – a beloved mother, daughter, sister and friend. While justice has now been served, the lasting impact and trauma this man inflicted on Kristy’s family can never be erased. Our thoughts are with Kristy’s family and her home community.”
According to court documents, on July 24, 2017, Kenneth Manzanares, Kristy Manzanares, their three daughters and Kristy’s extended family members boarded the Emerald Princess on an Alaskan cruise. On the evening of July 25, Kenneth and Kristy were inside their cabin along with two of their daughters.
According to admissions made in connection with the plea, Kenneth and Kristy became involved in an argument about Kenneth’s behavior that evening. During the argument, Kristy stated she wanted a divorce and told him to get off the ship in Juneau and travel back home to Utah. Kenneth told the two daughters to leave the room and both went into an adjoining relatives’ cabin. A few minutes later, they both heard Kristy scream and attempted to reenter the cabin using the adjoining door when Kenneth told them “don’t come in here.” They both went to the connected balcony and saw Kenneth straddling Kristy on the bed striking her in the head with closed fists.
Prior to security officers arriving in the cabin, Kristy Manzanares’ two brothers and father arrived on scene. One of the brothers saw Kenneth Manzanares drag Kristy’s body toward the balcony and he grabbed her ankles pulling her back into the cabin. Soon after, at approximately 9:00 p.m., ship security and medical personnel arrived and attempted to perform life-saving measures on Kristy but were unsuccessful. It was determined that she was killed by blunt force trauma to her head and face. Manzanares was arrested, on July 26, 2017, and has remained in federal custody.
The FBI’s Anchorage Field Office conducted the investigation leading to the charges in this case. Additional investigative assistance was provided by the FBI’s Seattle and Salt Lake City Field Offices, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), Coast Guard District 17, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt prosecuted the case.