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Cruise ship murder ‘because wife laughed at husband’

August 1, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A week’s holiday cruise in Alaska appears to have gone very wrong for one family. A husband stands accused of killing his wife aboard a cruise ship off the Alaskan coast, with the FBI alleging that the suspect was in the process of dragging his wife’s body out onto the balcony of their cabin when apprehended.

Kenneth Ray Manzanares, 39, of Utah, was arrested and charged with murder following the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares, also 39, aboard the Emerald Princess last week, the US Attorney’s Alaska Office said.

US federal authorities are handling the case because the ship was in US territorial waters but beyond Alaska’s state jurisdiction. That’s very important, as we will explain later.

Kristy and Kenneth Manzanares. Facebook

According to an FBI criminal complaint, on Tuesday 25 July 2017, Emerald Princess security and medical personnel responded to “an incident in the cabin” occupied by the accused and his wife. In the blood-spattered cabin, Kristy Manzanares was found lying dead with a severe head wound.

The FBI complaint, signed by FBI special agent Michael Watson, says that as the accused tried to drag the body out of the cabin onto the balcony, a witness entered and grabbed the ankles of the body, preventing that happening.

The US Attorney’s office stated: “According to the complaint, prior to security officers arriving to the cabin, one of the witnesses, D.H., observed Manzanares grab K.M.’s body and drag her toward the balcony. D.H. then grabbed the ankles of K.M.’s body and pulled her back into the cabin. Soon after, Emerald Princess security entered the cabin and restrained and secured Manzanares.”

A witness (presumably D.H) told investigators that when he walked into the cabin he saw a woman lying on the floor covered in blood. A man had blood covering his hands and clothes, according to the complaint as quoted by the Alaska Dispatch News.

The paper quoted unnamed passengers saying the Manzanares were aboard the Emerald Princess with a large group, including their children.

When the witness asked Manzanares what happened, Manzanares is said to have replied: “She would not stop laughing at me.”

The paper noted that a passenger had told CBS a young girl from the couple’s room had run out calling for help, saying her parents had been fighting.

In the late evening, a cruise security officer phoned an FBI special agent and told him that there “appeared to be a homicide onboard the cruise ship Emerald Princess”, the complaint said.

Kenneth Manzanares made a brief court appearance in Anchorage, Alaska on Thursday, according to Fox News in Salt Lake City. The judge advised Manzanares of the charges and potential penalties and ordered him held for preliminary examination set for 10 August 2017.

The fact that the ship was outside Alaskan territorial waters is important as penalties for homicide vary between US federal law and state laws. As an example, the maximum penalty for first-degree murder in Alaska is 99 years imprisonment, whereas under US federal law it can attract a sentence of death.

That is not to say Manzanares has been charged with first-degree murder. Murder is divided into two degrees under US federal law.

The US Attorney’s office makes clear that charges in the criminal complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Written by Peter Needham

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