Murder mystery takes ironic twist for Howell

By BRIAN GRAVES Staff Writer
Posted 7/28/17

After what has been a long, complicated, contentious and difficult session of the Tennessee State Legislature, it stands to reason a state representative might want to get as far away from …

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Murder mystery takes ironic twist for Howell

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After what has been a long, complicated, contentious and difficult session of the Tennessee State Legislature, it stands to reason a state representative might want to get as far away from Nashville as he can to rest and recharge his batteries.

That is what state Rep. Dan Howell (R-Georgetown) decided to do, but there was no way he could have imagined he would be on the scene of a tragedy which would make national news.

Howell took the occasion of his wife Beverlee's birthday to take her on an Alaskan cruise.

The cruise ship the couple was on was the Emerald Princess, and it was on that ship a Utah man was found to have allegedly killed his wife.

According to the Associated Press, a Utah real estate agent killed on an Alaska cruise was remembered by her employer as a trusted adviser and valued sales associate.

Kristy Manzanares was found dead Tuesday night as the cruise ship Emerald Princess traveled between Ketchikan and Juneau.

Her husband, Kenneth Manzanares, was charged with murder after he was discovered with blood on his hands and clothes, and with blood spread throughout the cabin on the Princess Cruises ship, according to a criminal complaint by FBI Special Agent Michael L. Watson.

"Kristy was a dedicated and loving mother who juggled her business schedule to make her children the top priority," the statement from Summit Sotheby's International Realty in St. George, Utah, said.

Kristy Manzanares, 39, had a severe head wound, but authorities have declined to release other details in the case, including how many people were traveling with the couple on the 3,400-passenger Emerald Princess that left Sunday from Seattle.

A man and other people went into the room before medical workers and security officers had arrived and saw the woman on the floor covered in blood, according to court documents.

The man asked Manzanares what happened, and the suspect said, "'She would not stop laughing at me,'" according to the FBI complaint.

Manzanares then grabbed his wife's body and tried to drag her to the balcony, but the man stopped him, Watson wrote. The name of the man was not included in the complaint.

Adding to the tragedy, the couple's three children were with them on the cruise.

"It happened at 9 p.m. Tuesday night," Howell told the Cleveland Daily Banner in a text from Alaska. "The Coast Guard was on board by midnight and took the husband into custody."

Howell said the ship bypassed one port of call and sailed straight to Juneau, arriving there Wednesday morning.

"The FBI came aboard about 8 a.m. Wednesday morning to do the investigation and locked the ship down until 4:30 p.m. and we were finally allowed to go to shore," he said.

Howell said the strange and ironic thing about that night is he and his wife were attending a live production of a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery in the ship's lounge.

"The show had just started when the captain came on the PA system and called for security and medical emergency personnel to report immediately to Deck 9, Zone 10," Howell said. "We were staying on Deck 10."

"Everyone thought this was part of the show," he said. "But when the captain broke in a few minutes later to announce it again, we realized it might be a real emergency. When he announced it the third time, we knew it was serious."

Howell said despite the incident, the ship's captain and crew "have been great."

"I was impressed with how professionally the captain, crew and staff handled everything," he added.

"As both Christians and Tennesseans, we offer our prayers for that family and especially those children," Howell said.

"This was definitely a trip we will remember for a very long time," he added.

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