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Utahn pleads not guilty in wife's death during Alaska cruise

The Emerald Princess cruise ship is docked in Juneau, Alaska, Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
The Emerald Princess cruise ship is docked in Juneau, Alaska, Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska — A Utah man charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife on a cruise to Alaska dabbed his eyes as he pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday.

An attorney for Kenneth Manzanares, of Santa Clara in Washington County, entered the plea during an arraignment in a federal courtroom in Juneau, Alaska; the judge presided via a video link from Anchorage.

Manzanares was clad in a yellow prison uniform as the indictment against him was read.

Prosecutors have not decided if they will seek the death penalty. A hearing on that issue is expected later this year.

Manzanares was indicted by a grand jury last week in the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares, a 39-year-old real estate agent.

She was found July 25 in a cabin on a Princess Cruises' ship while it was in U.S. waters off of Alaska. The ship, which had left Seattle on July 23 for a scheduled seven-day roundtrip cruise, later docked in Juneau for the investigation.

A neighbor of the couple told The Associated Press last month that they had booked the cruise to celebrate their anniversary.

FBI Special Agent Michael Watson said in an affidavit that witnesses saw Manzanares with blood on his hands and clothing. One said Manzanares told him: "She would not stop laughing at me," according to the affidavit.

During an FBI search, Manzanares "spontaneously stated, 'My life is over,'" Watson said.