St. George man pleads guilty to killing his wife on cruise to Alaska

Kenneth Manzanares who pleaded guilty of murdering his wife, 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares, on an Alaskan cruise ship July 25, 2017 | Composite photo, St. George News

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A man pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder for beating his wife to death during a 2017 family cruise to Alaska.

During Friday’s hearing, Kenneth Manzanares acknowledged details of a plea agreement he’d signed earlier, which said he beat his wife, Kristy Manzanares, after she told him she wanted a divorce during an argument.

Kenneth Manzanares of Utah said he hit his wife with a closed fist, saw blood and hit her again but had no memory after that, according to the document. An autopsy determined Kristy Manzanares had died from blunt force trauma to her head and face.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess set sentencing for late May. Under the agreement, Manzanares waived the right to appeal his conviction but reserved the right to appeal the “reasonableness” of an eventual sentence.

No one spoke from Kristy Manzanares’ family Friday; a line had been set up by the court for her parents to listen by phone.

Friday’s change of plea hearing largely involved questioning by Burgess to ensure Kenneth Manzanares understood his rights and plea.

According to the plea agreement, an adult daughter of the couple and an unidentified minor who had been told by Kenneth Manzanares to leave the cabin where the couple was arguing tried to re-enter when they heard Kristy Manzanares scream. From a balcony, they saw Kenneth Manzanares atop his wife, hitting her, and the adult daughter went for help, the document states.

When Kristy Manzanares’ brothers and father arrived, they saw her husband pull her toward the balcony, the document states. One of the brothers brought her back into the room. Security and medical personnel attempted to perform life-saving measures before she was pronounced dead.

The U.S. attorney for Alaska, Bryan Schroder, in a statement, said most people who visit Alaska have a safe experience.

“However, on those rare occasions where a crime is committed on a visitor, especially a brutal crime like the murder of Kristy Manzanares, rest assured the Alaskan law enforcement community will act to bring the perpetrator to justice,” he said.

Written by By BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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