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Utah man will plead guilty in killing of his wife during an Alaska cruise

JUNEAU — A Utah man beat his wife to death after she told him she wanted a divorce while on a family cruise to Alaska in 2017, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court Monday.

The document states Kenneth Manzanares agrees to plead guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares. A change of plea hearing is scheduled for Friday. Kenneth Manzanares previously pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

According to the document, an adult daughter of the couple and an unidentified minor whom Kenneth Manzanares had told to leave the cabin where he and Kristy Manzanares were arguing tried to re-enter when they heard Kristy Manzanares scream. From a balcony, they saw Kenneth Manzanares on top of his wife, hitting her, and the adult daughter went for help, the document states.

When Kristy Manzanares’ brothers and father arrived, they saw Kenneth Manzanares pull his wife toward the balcony, the document states. One of the brothers brought her back into the room. Ship security and medical personnel attempted to perform life-saving measures before she was pronounced dead, the document says.

Kenneth Manzanares admitted to hitting his wife "once with a closed fist, seeing blood and striking Kristy Manzanares another time, and stated he had no memory after that point," according to the document.

An autopsy determined Kristy Manzanares was killed by blunt force trauma to her head and face, the document says.

According to the document, on July 25, 2017, the couple began arguing about Kenneth Manzanares’ behavior that evening. Kristy Manzanares said she wanted a divorce and told him to get off the ship when it stopped in Juneau, its next port of call, the document states.

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