Utah Man Beat Wife to Death on Their 18th Anniversary

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Marriage is a bond of love shared between two souls, but sometimes that love is replaced by hate, leading to tumultuous endings. A similar case happened with the Manzanares when Kristy Manzanares demanded separation from her husband, Kenneth Manzanares, on their anniversary celebration in 2017. No one expected Kenneth to react outrageously, but he had lost his control and punched his beloved wife to death in a fit of rage. Many invitees believed that the anniversary party was staged and Kristy’s murder was pre-planned. It took nearly three years for Kenneth to accept his crime.

Eighteen Years of a Rocky Marriage

Kenneth Manzanares, a 40-year-old Utah man, met his beautiful wife, Kristy Manzanares, in 1998. Kristy and Kenneth were head over heels in love and eventually ended up marrying each other. In the coming years, Kenneth and Kristy had three beautiful daughters. They looked like the perfect family that everyone wants.

Unfortunately, the reality was completely different from what was being portrayed. Kenneth and Kristy were going through a rough patch in their marital life. The couple could not find a middle ground to adjust, and soon, the fights concluded on divorce threats. Kristy had no idea that she’d be leaving Kenneth for once and all, but under what circumstances?

Murder Timeline

July 24, 2017: A Deadly Cruise Ship Anniversary Holiday

Kenneth loved Kristy no matter what had been the then status of their marriage. Kenneth decided to throw a grand party for Kristy on their eighteenth anniversary, ignoring the ups and downs of their relationship. Kenneth’s idea of a grand party was the celebration of their anniversary party on a cruise ship en route to Alaska. Kenneth invited his close family to the cruise celebration, including his parents, Kristy’s parents, and Kristy’s brothers. Everyone was about to witness the scariest cruise ride they had ever taken in their entire life.

July 25, 2017: The Couple Got into a Heated Argument

The Manzanares boarded their cruise ship, named Emerald Princess, on July 24, 2017. Everyone settled in the ship and began exploring the beautiful Emerald Princess, whereas the Manzanares started to have a debate while their daughters stayed within their room. Soon, the debate took a heated turn and transformed into an altercation. Kenneth’s one sentence would be replied to by multiple aggressive answers by Kristy. The girls were intimidated by their parents’ bizarre behavior, which was unexpected for them, especially on their anniversary.

Kenneth Sent His Daughters Away Before Attacking Kristey

Kenneth quickly realized that the altercation would only worsen from there forward; Hence, he sent his three daughters outside from his room. The daughters decided to go to their aunt and uncle’s room which was next to their parents’ room. The balcony of both the rooms was shared, making it easier for the girls to recognize the intensity of the disagreement. The girls could hear the loud noise of shouting from their parent’s room. However, the shouting soon turned into fearful screaming and cries for help.

Kristy Punched to Death After Demanding Divorce

Kristy was fed up with Kenneth’s chaotic behavior. Kristy demanded a divorce from Kenneth as she cried loudly. It seemed like Kristy had bottled up her emotions for a long time, and now, she was about to set herself free forever from a tormenting marriage. Kenneth could not take hold of his overwhelming emotions as he hit Kristy across her face, and terrorizing noise of screams echoed in the Emerald Princess. The daughters tried to break into their parent’s room while Kenneth told them not to come inside. Kenneth kept beating Kristy’s head for the next few minutes until she lost consciousness.

Kenneth Tried to Discard Kristy’s Body into the Water

It seemed like Kristy had passed out when she lay unconscious on the floor. The girls, along with their uncles and grandfather, ran out on the balcony. They could see Kenneth dragging Kristy’s body as he tried to discard her into the wild sea. Kristy’s brothers then jumped in and saved Kristy from disoriented Kenneth.

The medical team on board rushed to unconscious Kristey’s aid. However, it had been too late by then, as Kristy had already died from the fatal blows Kenneth landed on her head. Kristy’s family was in utter shock at what they had witnessed. The Police were called to ensure Kenneth did not have his easy escape.

The Police Believed that Kenneth Killed Kristy in a Fit of Bipolar Disorder

The Police arrested Kenneth at the spot and took Kristy’s body for forensic inspection. A detailed interrogation made the Police acknowledge Kenneth’s long battle with bipolar disorder. Kenneth had been taking medication for his disorder as well.

The Police believed that Kenneth killed Kristy in a fit of bipolar disorder. Kenneth told the Police that he beat Kristy on her head because “she just won’t stop laughing at me.” A few days later, Kristy’s autopsy report revealed that she had died at the spot from a blunt force to her head and face. The inspection from the spectators wasn’t helpful since they believed Kenneth and staged everything while his mental condition stated otherwise.

A Harrowing Conviction of Thirty Years

Kenneth was held in federal custody from July 2017 to 2020 until he pleaded guilty to Kristy’s murder. In August 2017, Kenneth pleaded not guilty to Kristy’s murder, but he had no proof to support his plea. The case stretched over the course of three years when finally, Kenneth pleaded guilty to killing Kristy. In February 2020, the court sentenced Kenneth to 30 years in federal prison on charges of second-degree murder of his wife. Kenneth’s extended sentence was followed by five years of supervised release.

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