2 Brothers Beat California Groom to Death at His Wedding Reception After Crashing the Celebration

Joe Melgoza was beaten to death during his wedding reception in December 2019, just hours after he said his vows

Two brothers who murdered a groom just hours after he said "I do" in 2019 have been convicted.

Joe Melgoza was celebrating his nuptials on Dec. 14, 2019, when he was attacked at his wedding reception, which was held in the backyard of a family member in Chino, California, KTLA reported at the time.

Rony and Josue Castaneda, 31 and 22 respectively, were convicted of second-degree murder by a jury on Feb. 9 for Melgoza's death, the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office said in a press release on Wednesday. They were also found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon for injuries that Melgoza's brother, Juan Bustamonte, suffered.

In the wee hours of Dec. 15, Melgoza was in newlywed bliss at his wedding reception when the uninvited Castaneda brothers showed up.

"They lived nearby and likely heard the festivities and went to the reception," said the D.A.'s office. They were later seen taking part in the reception, dancing and snapping photos with women who were at the party.

Man Killed on Wedding Day Joe Melgoza

They left the party but later came back through a trail behind the home. The groom had no idea they had returned. The brothers stood behind a fence and taunted Melgoza, telling him to jump to the other side, the D.A.'s office said.

"Once Melgoza and his family jumped the fence, the brothers began hitting them all with bats and fists," the release noted. "A family member was able to pull a bat from one of the Castaneda brothers who ran into an unrelated residence. They were followed by Melgoza, who ran into the yard unarmed. A few minutes later the Castaneda brothers were seen jumping the fence out of the unrelated residence with a single bat, which was never found."

Josue Castaneda Ramirez
Rony Castaneda Ramirez, left, and Josue Castaneda Ramirez. Chino Police Department

The Chino Police Department first got to the scene to respond to a family member who had been hurt. But they later discovered Melgoza's body in the same yard the Castaneda brothers had fled to. Melgoza had died "within minutes" of suffering blunt force trauma to the head.

Josue told police he was never at the reception, however, a photobooth image of him and Rony posing with a female guest was found in his front pocket after his arrest, authorities noted. Snapchat also played a role in helping authorities find Josue and Rony.

"I commend my colleagues' dedication to this case and determination to seek justice for a family who endured such unimaginable grief during a time that should be filled love and happiness," said San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson. "Although this conviction can never undo the pain caused by two individual's actions, I hope it brings a measure of closure to the wife and loved ones of Joe Melgoza."

The brothers are set to be sentenced on March 13.

It is not clear who is representing Rony and Josue to comment on their behalf.

A GoFundMe created after his death to raise money for his funeral described the victim as "a loving son, brother, father, cousin, partner, family member and friend."

"He always had a way to make you smile. He was there for you at any time to give a helping hand. He was taken from us in such a tragic and horrific way."

Melgoza was not only survived by his new wife, but also his daughter.

"He leaves behind his daughter Lilly who will be in good hands with Joe's family. We are asking for your support at this time for Joe's services and for his little girl Lilly. Isela, Joe's mom is devastated, heartbroken and is having a hard time processing it all."

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