‘Relax chiqui' remark sets off deadly party shooting; killer sentenced to life

‘Relax chiqui' remark sets off deadly party shooting; killer sentenced to life

Juan Carlos Zambrano Canales 

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — It was supposed to be a fun night with friends. But it ended with a man dead after his killer thought he had slighted him.

Francisco Javier Madera, 33, was sentenced Thursday by Cobb Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard. Last Friday, after a weeklong trial, a Cobb jury convicted Madera of malice murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault.

On Oct. 14, 2017, several people were gathered in and around a house on Winnstead Drive, in the Waverly Mobile Home Park in Mableton.

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Madera and his victim, Juan Carlos Zambrano Canales, 27, had met for the first time at the party, and everything seemed fine. But after awhile, witnesses said, Madera began arguing and Canales said something along the lines of "relax chiqui," a Spanish word meaning "little one."

The argument then turned physical. Witnesses asked Madera to leave the party and walked him to his car. Madera got into his car and began to leave. He then stopped his car in the middle of the road and returned to the party with a handgun.


Madera then shot Canales, who was unarmed and barefoot, three times, hitting him in the abdomen and back.

Canales was rushed to Grady Hospital where he later died.

A nurse who treated him testified that the gunshot wound, which punctured a major vein, "literally emptied his heart."

Madera was arrested two days later in Arkansas by U.S. Marshals and Little Rock Police.

"The evidence showed that this defendant murdered Carlos Zambrano over nothing more than a girl and the word ‘chiqui,'" said ADA Stephanie Green, who prosecuted the case with ADA Erman Tanjuatco. "His actions were that of a cold-blooded killer."

Cobb Police investigated this case.