A Utah man who was recently sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for the brutal murder of his wife was found dead in his prison cell last week.
Authorities at Alaska’s Department of Corrections confirmed this week that Kenneth Manzanares, who was convicted of killing his spouse during a 2017 anniversary cruise to Alaska, passed away at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in the city of Juneau. He was 43 years old.
Officials are being tight-lipped about how the murderer died, only revealing through a statement to the media that he was first found unresponsive last Wednesday morning in his cell. Moments later, deputies who came across his body pronounced him deceased.
And while a cause of death is unclear, officials were at least publicly open enough to rule out two things: their statement claims that “foul play is not suspected” in Manzanares’ death, and he also did not have COVID-19 at the time of his passing.
Manzanares had been in federal custody for almost exactly four years — since July 26, 2017 — after being charged with the murder of his 39-year-old wife, Kristy Manzanares.
Back in February, he chose to plead guilty to second-degree murder in the case, in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence and five years of supervised release. Under the terms of Kenneth’s plea deal, though, he had to disclose and detail everything that happened on the evening of Kristy’s death, which occurred on the Emerald Princess cruise ship while the couple was celebrating their wedding anniversary with extended family on a cruise from Seattle to Alaska.
On the fateful evening of July 26, 2017, Manzanares claimed they got into a heated argument after Kristy told him she wanted a divorce, and asked him to leave the cruise ship and travel back to their home state of Utah. As the argument got worse, Kenneth testified, he asked two of his daughters to leave the room — after which point he struck Kristy at least twice with a closed fist.
Per a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement from February, when Kenneth was sentenced, extended family members immediately attempted to rush into the room to render aid, but were unable to do so (below):
“Both heard Kristy scream and attempted to reenter the cabin using the adjoining door when Kenneth told them ‘don’t come in here.’ They both went to the connected balcony and saw Kenneth straddling Kristy on the bed striking her in the head with closed fists.”
Kristy’s brothers arrived on the scene immediately after that — just in time to prevent Kenneth from throwing Kristy’s body off the balcony and into the water below. However, the blunt force trauma injuries to her head and face were so extensive that she was unable to be revived by medical personnel, and she was pronounced dead on the scene.
Such a horrible, horrible situation…
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