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Utah man admits killing wife on cruise ship in Alaska

Passengers of the Emerald Princess cruise ship disembark on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in Juneau, Alaska. A domestic dispute aboard the cruise ship led to the death of a 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares, of Utah. On Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, Kenneth Ray Manzanares pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in federal court in Alaska in his wife’s death.
Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man has admitted to killing his wife during an argument on a cruise ship off the coast of Alaska nearly two years ago.

Kenneth Ray Manzanares, 42, of Santa Clara, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in federal court in Alaska.

Manzanares, his wife Kristy Manzanares, and her family members left aboard the Emerald Princess on an Alaskan cruise on July 24, 2017.

A day later, Kenneth Manzanares and his wife argued about his behavior on that evening, during which she told him she wanted a divorce and for him to disembark in Juneau to travel back to Utah, according to federal prosecutors.

Manzanares told their daughter and another child to leave the room. A few minutes later, they both heard Kristy Manzanares scream and attempted to reenter the cabin using their room’s adjoining door when Manzanares told them “don’t come in here,” authorities said. They saw Manzanares straddling his wife on the floor, and hitting her in the head with closed fists.

Before security officers arrived at the cabin, Kristy Manzanares’ two brothers and father saw Manzanares grab her body and drag her toward the balcony.

One of Kristy Manzanares’ brothers grabbed her ankles and pulled her back into the cabin, authorities said. Security officers and medical personnel were unable to revive her.

Manzanares has remained in federal custody since his arrest July 26, 2017. He faces up to life in prison.