Utah Man Who Beat His Wife to Death on Alaska Cruise in 2017 is Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

Kenneth Manzanares pleaded guilty on Friday to second-degree murder for killing Kristy Manzanares on the Emerald Princess Cruise ship two and a half years ago, (Facebook)

A Utah man was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison in the beating death of his wife on an Alaska cruise in 2017, with a federal judge describing the crime as violent and brutal. Prosecutors had sought life in prison for Kenneth Manzanares, who pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares. His attorneys requested 7 1/2 years.

Kenneth Manzanares looked back briefly, toward where two of his daughters sat in the courtroom, before being led out after U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess announced his decision.

Manzanares’ attorneys, in a court filing, said he had brain abnormalities that a defense expert deemed consistent with injuries caused by playing contact sports. This, combined with what was at the time an undiagnosed bipolar disorder and “a problematic combination of prescribed medication and alcohol resulted in an aberrant episode of violence,” the filing states.

But Burgess said there was competing evidence offered about Manzanares’ culpability and that experts had failed to show what factors led to the crime.

Prosecutors had disputed the defense’s medical claims and in court documents described Manzanares’ actions as intentional, “triggered by his wife telling him she wanted him to leave the cruise ship and that she wanted a divorce.” Prosecutors said Kristy Manzanares told her husband that she wanted a divorce during an argument about his behavior on the night of her death.

A passenger on the ship, Ruby Plata, was with her husband aboard the ship when she heard an announcement over the intercom.

“Whoever was talking was pretty scared because their voice was shaking,” she told CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas. “They said it was a domestic altercation.”

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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press

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