Southern Utah man charged with wife’s cruise ship murder won’t face death penalty

Kristy and Kenneth Manzanares. Photo: Facebook

JUNEAU, Alaska, Nov. 18, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Accused murderer Kenneth Manzanares, charged in the cruise ship beating death of wife Kristy Manzanares, will not face the death penalty if convicted.

That decision, made by the United States District Attorney’s office, was noted in court documents released Friday.

Manzanares faces federal charges in the July 29 bludgeoning death of 39-year-old Kristy, his high school sweetheart, after which he told someone who responded to the room that “she would not stop laughing at me,” a probable cause statement says.

The couple was on a family cruise in territorial waters near Alaska when Kristy Manzanares died. Because the death occurred in territorial waters, it is being tried as a federal case.

The state of Alaska, where Manzanarez was charged, has never had a death penalty, but the federal death penalty is legal in all 50 states. 

Manzanares has pleaded not guilty in the case. If convicted, he could face a maximum of life in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Manzanares’ first-degree murder case was originally scheduled to be tried starting in October. The attorneys for the accused requested a delay in September, asking that the case be declared “complex,” which clears the way for delays in the federal court system.

The case qualified as complex due to the number of interviews to be completed and amount of evidence to be reviewed.

The case is currently scheduled to begin in April of 2018. A status conference is scheduled for noon Nov. 29.

 

The Manzanareses had taken the cruise, with their three daughters, to mark their wedding anniversary. Kristy Manzanares was found, deceased, with severe trauma to her head before her husband was arrested.

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