Prosecutors won't seek death penalty for Utahn charged in Alaska cruise ship death

Juneau, Alaska • Federal prosecutors in Alaska do not plan to seek the death penalty in the case of a Utah man accused of killing his wife during a cruise in Alaska.

Kenneth Manzanares, 40, of Santa Clara, has been charged in U.S. District Court with murder in the death of his wife, 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares, in July. He has pleaded not guilty.

While the state of Alaska does not have capital punishment, the death occurred while the ship was in U.S. waters.

Kristy Manzanares was found July 25 in a cabin on a Princess Cruises’ ship, which had left Seattle two days earlier for a seven-day, roundtrip cruise. The ship was off Alaska at the time of the incident.

In a July affidavit, FBI Special Agent Michael Watson said witnesses saw blood on Kenneth Manzanares’ hands and clothes. One witness said Manzanares told him: “She would not stop laughing at me,” according to the affidavit.

Little has been released about the case since then. Attorneys have cited “voluminous” amounts of discovery, including eyewitness statements and medical examiner and toxicology reports, to review.

The U.S. attorney’s office announced its decision to not pursue the death penalty in a court filing, dated Friday.

A status conference in the case is scheduled for next week. A jury trial is set to begin April 23 before Judge Timothy M. Burgess.

Bryan Schroder, the acting U.S. Attorney for Alaska, left, and Marlin Ritzman, the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Alaska, address reporters Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Anchorage, Alaska, after a Utah man was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with murder in the death of his wife on an Alaska cruise. Kenneth Manzanares of Santa Clara, Utah, is charged in the July 25, 2017, death of his wife on board the Emerald Princess. The shape was sailing in U.S. waters, meaning the FBI investigated and charges are in the federal system. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)