Man pleads guilty to killing wife on Alaska cruise after he said ‘she would not stop laughing at me’

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A man pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the beating death of his wife during a 2017 family cruise to Alaska.

Kenneth Manzanares, at the time of his 39-year-old wife Kristy’s death, had complained to security officers on the Empress Princess cruise ship during a murder mystery night for passengers, that she ‘would not stop laughing at me.’

A plea agreement the husband agreed to reveals the couple had been fighting in their room aboard the ship and that that the wife had said she wanted a divorce.

Under the terms of the deal filed earlier this week, Manzanares admitted he struck his wife with a closed fist, saw blood and struck her a second time but said he had no memory after that point.

An autopsy determined she had died from blunt force trauma to her head and face.

A U.S. District Court judge set sentencing for May 28 and 29.

No one spoke from the wife’s family Friday, while a line had been set up by the court for her parents to listen by phone.

Authorities alleged that Manzanares, who was 39 at the time of his wife’s slaying on July 25, 2017, murdered his wife because she wouldn’t stop laughing at him in front of their children.

Security called to the family’s room around 9pm that evening found the wife with a severe head wound. 

She was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later. 

The cruise ship staff had said that Manzanares, a father-of-three, had attempted to throw his wife’s body overboard.

The theme of the cruise was a murder mystery and staff said that they believed the grisly scene had been staged as part of it when they first arrived at the couple’s room.

The couple from Utah were on board the ship with a large group which witnesses said included children and other adults.

The cruise was a week-long and it departed from Seattle, Washington with 3400 people on board. 

Manzanares told Alaskan authorities ‘My life is over’ during questioning after the ship returned to dock. 

The slain wife, according to social media profiles, was a real estate agent with Sotheby’s in St. George, Utah.

‘In her spare time, Kristy enjoys volunteering at local schools and is involved in the Jubilee of Trees as Tree Designer each year,’ her profile on the Summit Sotheby’s International realty site had said. 

‘She loves cheering on her daughters at soccer games, spending time with extended family and is currently learning how to play golf with her husband.’

Nicole and Brice Beckstrom used to be the Manzanares’ neighbors. 

They told CBS News after the wife’s murder that the couple was celebrating an anniversary during the trip.

‘To find out that it was her was shocking,’ Nicole Beckstrom said.

Some passengers told Fox 13 that they heard two men and a woman fighting on their balcony the night of the murder, and then a woman screaming for her life.

‘People were running through the hall with blood all over them and trying to get security,’ passenger Megan Morr said.

Morr said that even the captain came on over the intercom, ordering crew to respond to the incident.

‘He was very worked up, he said, 

‘Everyone, we need all medical, security, all personnel to deck 9 and deck 14′; and that scared me because I’m on deck 14,’ Morr said.

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