The 43-year-old was found unresponsive in his cell on Wednesday and was pronounced dead a short time afterward, Alaska Department of Corrections confirmed.
“No foul play is suspected. This death is not COVID-19 related,” a DOC statement said, per KUTV.
Alaska State Troopers and the Medical Examiner’s Office are now investigating.
Manzanares had been in custody since July of 2017, when he beat his wife to death in front of their daughters aboard a cruise celebrating the couple’s 18-year wedding anniversary.
He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the crime six weeks before he was found dead.
original story 6/4/2021 9:42 AM
A Utah man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the brutal murder of his wife aboard a cruise ship.
Kenneth Manzanares, 43, beat Kristy Manzanares to death with his bare hands in front of their daughters, during a family holiday celebrating the couple’s 18th wedding anniversary.
The killing occurred onboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship in the U.S. Territorial Waters outside southeast Alaska on July 25, 2017.
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“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.”
According to court documents, the couple and their children, along with extended family members, boarded the ship on July 24; the next day Kenneth and Kristy were in their cabin with two of the kids when an argument broke out over Kenneth’s behavior earlier in the 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 then told the two daughters to leave the room; they both went into an adjoining relatives’ cabin.
But a few minutes later, they both heard their mother scream. They attempted to reenter the cabin using the adjoining door, but their dad told them “don’t come in here.”
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So they ran to the connected balcony, and watched as their father straddled their mother on the bed, striking her in the head with closed fists.
Before security could get there, Kristy’s two brothers and father arrived on the scene, just as Kenneth was dragging Kristy’s body toward the balcony; one of the brothers managed to grab her ankles before she was thrown overboard, pulling her back into the cabin.
Medical personal were summoned and tried to perform life saving measures, but it was too late. It was later determined she was killed by blunt force trauma to the head and face.
Manzanares was arrested on July 26, 2017, and has remained in federal custody since then.
He pled guilty to second-degree murder in February of last year, and on Thursday was sentenced to three full decades in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
“No excuse can justify the savagery committed by this man, who will now spend the next three decades behind bars,” Robert Britt, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Anchorage Field Office, said in a statement.
“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.”
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