Feds won’t seek the death penalty for Utah man charged in cruise ship murder

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors have opted not to seek the death penalty against a St. George man accused of killing his wife aboard a cruise ship in Alaska.

Kristy Manzanares. (Image provided to FOX 13 by the Hunt-Manzanares family)

The decision to not seek to execute Kenneth Manzanares — should he be convicted — was announced in a court filing obtained by FOX 13 on Friday night. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Alaska notified the judge it had made the decision after consultation with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Kenneth Manzanares has pleaded not guilty to a federal murder charge in the death of his wife, Kristy. The couple was vacationing on board the “Emerald Princess” off the coast of Alaska back in July.

FBI agents wrote in affidavits that witnesses had reported seeing blood in the room and Kristy Manzanares had a severe head wound.┬áKenneth Manzanares reportedly said “she would not stop laughing at me,” authorities said in filings. Passengers aboard the ship had reported hearing the couple fighting.

A federal judge has scheduled a trial to begin in April 2018 in Juneau.