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Utah man sentenced to 30 years in death of wife on cruise

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Utah man was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison in the beating death of his wife on an Alaska cruise in 2017, with a federal judge describing the crime as violent and brutal.

Prosecutors had sought life in prison for Kenneth Manzanares, who pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares. His attorneys requested 7 1/2 years.

Kenneth Manzanares looked back briefly, toward where two of his daughters sat in the courtroom, before being led out after U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess announced his decision.

Manzanares’ attorneys, in a court filing, said he had brain abnormalities that a defense expert deemed consistent with injuries caused by playing contact sports. This, combined with 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,” the filing states.

But Burgess said there was competing evidence offered about Manzanares’ culpability and that experts had failed to show what factors led to the crime.

The plea agreement Manzanares signed allows for an appeal of “the reasonableness” of the sentence. Jamie McGrady, a federal public defender representing Manzanares, told The Associated Press an appeal would be filed.

She called the sentence a tragedy and said the judge ignored scientific evidence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt said Manzanares was held accountable. While it wasn’t the sentence prosecutors sought, “hopefully the healing process can begin” for the family, he said.

Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press