JUNEAU, Alaska, June 15, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Federal court documents suggest that attorneys in the first-degree murder case of Kenneth Manzanares — the Utah man charged in the 2017 beating death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares, on an Alaskan cruise ship — are negotiating a plea deal.
Federal court documents filed Friday and obtained by Gephardt Daily show that prosecutor Bryan Schroder, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Alaska, has filed for a motion of “expedited consideration.”
“A modification of the pre-trial deadlines is necessary in this matter as the
parties still do not anticipate a trial in this case and are actively working towards a
negotiated resolution in this matter,” Schroder’s request says.
“I have contacted the defendant’s counsel, Jamie McGrady, and she does
not oppose the United States request for filing on shortened time.”
The trial had been set for October of this year, and was expected to last about four weeks, federal court documents say. Manzanares had pleaded not guilty in the first-degree murder case. If convicted on that charge, he would face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
No details of any plea deal have been announced.
The Manzanareses had taken the Emerald Princess cruise, with their three daughters, to mark their wedding anniversary. The Santa Clara couple, reportedly high school sweethearts, both were 39.
On July 25, 2017, Kristy Manzanares was found, deceased on board the ship, with severe trauma to her head. Her husband was arrested.
According to documents filed in Anchorage shortly after the death, a witness identified as D.H., an acquaintance of the family, said Ken Manzanares answered his cabin door with blood covering his hands and clothing.
When D.H. entered the cabin, he saw 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares, the suspect’s wife, on the floor, covered with blood. The affidavit says that when D.H. asked why he did it, Kenneth Manzanares replied: “She would not stop laughing at me.”