A dad who admitted to beating his wife to death on an Alaska cruise has been found dead in his prison cell just one month after being sentenced to 30 years behind bars.
Kenneth Manzanares, 43, from Utah, US, was found unresponsive in his cell at a facility in Juneau on Wednesday morning (local time), the Alaska Department of Corrections said.
Life-saving measures were attempted but he was later pronounced dead, the department said.
Betsy Holley, a department spokesperson, said information “related to an inmate's medical condition is confidential,” but said no foul play was suspected in Manzanares' death.
His death will be reviewed by the Alaska State Troopers and state medical examiner's office. He is the seventh person to die in the department's custody this year.
Manzanares pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder in the beating death of his wife, 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares on a 2017 Alaska cruise.
Last month he was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with the federal judge overseeing the case describing it as violent and brutal.
Manzanares’ attorneys argued that he had brain abnormalities and suffered from what was at the time an undiagnosed bipolar disorder and “a problematic combination of prescribed medication and alcohol resulted in an aberrant episode of violence,” a court filing states.
Prosecutors disputed the defence’s medical claims and in court documents described Manzanares’ actions as intentional, “triggered by his wife telling him she wanted him to leave the cruise ship and that she wanted a divorce.”
Wife told husband she wanted a divorce on night of her death
Prosecutors said Kristy Manzanares told her husband that she wanted a divorce during an argument about his behaviour on the night of her death.
Manzanares had issues with anger and that he had acknowledged restraining his wife in the past and punching holes in walls, prosecutors said.
US District Court Judge Timothy Burgess said Kristy’s life was “viciously ended” by her husband, in an attack partly witnessed by two of the couple’s children.
Kristy’s brothers and father, who also were on the cruise, responded to and witnessed the scene afterward, according to prosecution documents.
Two of the couple’s children attended the court sentencing in June.
A statement released by Kristy Manzanares’ family said the ruling “brings us neither joy nor anger. Rather, simply a sense of resolution.
"We believe that the court made a fair and just determination. However, the legal system does not and is not intended to fill the emotional void of our loss.”
“While this marks the end of another chapter of this unimaginable ordeal, the fact is that Kristy’s three girls are still without both of their parents, and our focus now is to support them as best we can,” the statement says.
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