Victim Juan Carlos Zambrano Canales Supplied.JPG

Juan Carlos Zambrano Canales (victim)

For murdering a man he’d barely met because of a brief exchange of words at a Mableton trailer park party, an Atlanta man will serve life in prison.

Francisco Javier Madera, 33, was sentenced Thursday by Cobb Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard, the Cobb District Attorney’s office stated in a news release Friday.

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

Prosecutors said Madera shot 27-year-old Juan Carlos Zambrano Canales shortly after meeting him for the first time at a gathering at a home in The Waverly, a mobile home complex on Plantation Hill Road in Mableton, in the predawn hours of Oct. 14, 2017.

“The defendant began getting argumentative and Zambrano said something along the lines of “relax chiqui,” a Spanish word meaning “little one.” A verbal altercation ensued that later turned physical,” the Cobb DA’s office said.

Madera was asked to leave the party and was walked to his car by another person, but as Madera began to drive away he stopped in the middle of the road and returned to the party with a handgun, the DA’s office said.

“Madera proceeded to shoot Zambrano, who was unarmed and barefoot, three times, striking him in the abdomen and back,” the press release stated.

Madera’s arrest warrant states he fired four bullets at Zambrano from a semi-automatic handgun.

Zambrano was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where doctors performed “aggressive lifesaving procedures,” but he succumbed to his injuries, prosecutors said.

“A registered nurse who treated him there testified that the gunshot wound, which punctured a major vein, ‘literally emptied his heart,’” the DA’s office said, adding that Madera was arrested two days later in Arkansas by U.S. Marshals and Little Rock Police.

Jail records show Madera is originally from the Dominican Republic and has been in custody at the Cobb County jail since Oct. 29, 2017.

The DA’s office said he was convicted of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault by a Cobb jury last Friday after a weeklong trial.

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