Local News

September 7, 2013

Canales gets two life sentences for killing father, brother

Emilio Christopher Canales will be about 88 years old before he’s eligible for parole after a Superior Court judge in Whitfield County sentenced him to two consecutive life terms plus 25 years behind bars for killing his father and brother and shooting his mother in the back.

Canales in early July pleaded guilty to several crimes, including two counts of murder, related to shooting his father, Emilio Canales Sr.; brother, Francisco Canales; and mother, Deborah Canales, at their home at 1011 Dude St. in Dalton in April 2012. At that time Judge William T. Boyett sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole but scheduled a hearing to consider evidence that could mitigate that sentence.

Canales and his attorney, Public Defender Mike McCarthy, asked during that hearing on Aug. 2 for the judge to consider sentencing Canales to life with the possibility of parole — which he would be eligible for after 30 years — while District Attorney Bert Poston argued for no parole.

Deborah Canales testified in court on Aug. 2 that her son, whom she referred to as Christopher, was “a good kid” and she wanted him to have the possibility of getting out of prison one day. She said her ex-husband, his father, was abusive toward her in front of her son and that he had humiliated and belittled Christopher over the years. McCarthy asked the judge to consider those things.

Poston argued that day that Canales killed his family members in “cold blood,” that he obtained several gang-related tattoos while he was in prison, showing the kind of life he envisioned for himself, and that the sentence shouldn’t include a parole possibility.

Boyett said he issued the revised sentence after reviewing what the law provides for. The sentence includes the possibility of parole, but state law requires that Canales first serve at least 60 years in prison because of the consecutive sentencing. He was also sentenced to an additional 25 years for related offenses, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, to be served concurrently.

Poston said at the Aug. 2 hearing that prosecutors would have pressed for the death penalty except that some of the family members didn’t want to face the rigors of a trial. Boyett said after reviewing the law he learned that if a person gets consecutive life sentences for murder they must serve at least 30 years in prison on each count, for a maximum of 60 years, before being considered for parole. Poston said the final sentence is practically the same as if Canales had received life without parole.

Poston said it’s difficult to determine exactly what was going through Canales’ mind when he began killing his family members. He told investigators at one point that his father had spoken of his girlfriend in a derogatory manner shortly before the shootings, but Poston said there was tension between the two men for much longer than that. Whether Canales shot his brother and mother out of a desire to eliminate witnesses, in anger or for some other reason is difficult to ever prove, Poston said.

Deborah Canales declined to comment after the sentencing on Friday. Whatever happened in April 2012, she continued to express affection toward her son in the courtroom. On Aug. 2, she called out to him, “I love you honey, with all my heart!” He greeted her with smiles and nods as he entered the courtroom on Friday.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014

  • Beaulieu to close operations for one week for inventory

    Floorcovering giant Beaulieu of America will conduct a physical inventory of its buildings and facilities next week, with only salaried employees reporting for work.

    July 30, 2014

  • Green spot closing 1 mlh.jpg A part of the family

    Larry Green can’t remember the exact date. But he says it was about 54 years ago when his father Marvin took him to see the new store he and his brother Herman had commissioned Red Jennings to build at 309 W. Emery St. in Dalton.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • New high school?

    The only means for “staying small” and preserving “The Dalton Way” in Dalton Public Schools may be through expansion, Superintendent Jim Hawkins said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Bond denied for man arrested in synthetic marijuana bust

    A Dalton business owner charged in a synthetic marijuana bust was denied bond Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014