“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,” U.S. Attorney Bryan Wilson of the District of Alaska said

By Naledi Ushe
June 03, 2021 10:10 PM
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kristy manzanares
Kristy and Kenneth Manzanares
| Credit: Facebook

A Utah man has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for the brutal murder of his wife during a 2017 cruise to Alaska.

Back in February, Kenneth Manzanares pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Kristy Manzanares, while the two were on the Emerald Princess cruise ship, celebrating their wedding anniversary with their three daughters and extended family.

On Thursday, Kenneth was sentenced 30 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of Alaska revealed in a press release. There is no chance of parole.

"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," Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Wilson of the District of Alaska said.   

"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," Wilson added.

Anchorage FBI Special Agent Robert Britt also spoke out in the release.

"No excuse can justify the savagery committed by this man, who will now spend the next three decades behind bars," Britt said. "The FBI worked tirelessly, with the support of our partners, to seek justice for Kristy — a beloved mother, daughter, sister and friend."  

Britt added that although the courts have made a sentencing decision, "The lasting impact and trauma this man inflicted on Kristy's family can never be erased."

kenneth manzanares
Kenneth Manzanares
| Credit: Facebook

Kenneth was arrested on July 26, 2017, and has been in federal custody since.

In his February plea agreement — recapped in a press release by the U.S. Attorney's Office — Kenneth detailed what happened on the evening of Kristy's death, saying that he beat her while their children and family members stood by.

That evening, the couple got into an argument, Kenneth said in the plea, after Kristy told him she wanted a divorce and asked him to leave the cruise ship and travel back home to Utah.

As the argument intensified, Kenneth asked two of his daughters who were in the room to leave. Kenneth then hit Kristy with a closed fist twice.

"Both [daughters] heard Kristy scream and attempted to reenter the cabin using the adjoining door when Kenneth told them 'don't come in here,' " the U.S. Attorney's Office said. "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 to the scene and were able to save their sister from being dumped off the balcony by Kenneth, however, medical personnel were unable to revive her.

Her death was ruled as blunt force trauma to her head and face. 

Of the brutal crime scene, federal court documents obtained by PEOPLE last year state, "Blood was spread throughout the room on multiple surfaces," with Kenneth also covered in blood."

Kristy Manzanares
Kristy Manzanares and her daughters
| Credit: gofundme

Kenneth and Kristy, high school sweethearts, had been celebrating their wedding anniversary with their daughters and extended family on a week-long Princess Cruises voyage from Seattle to Alaska.

Kristy's cousin Kasey Hunt told PEOPLE in 2017 that she "had a glow to her, and filled a room with life," adding, "She was so damn nice to everyone, she was amazing."

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