Two brothers have been found guilty of killing a groom just hours after he said “I do” in 2019.
KTLA said at the time that Joe Melgoza was attacked at his wedding reception on December 14, 2019. The reception was held in the backyard of a family member in Chino, California.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release on Wednesday that Rony and Josue Castaneda, ages 31 and 22, were found guilty of second-degree murder on February 9 for Melgoza’s death. Melgoza’s brother Juan Bustamonte was hurt, so they were also found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.
Melgoza was having a wedding reception in the early hours of December 15 when the Castaneda brothers showed up without being asked.
“They lived close by, so they probably heard about the party and went to the reception,” the D.A.’s office said. Later, they were seen at the reception, where they were dancing and taking pictures with women who were there.
They left the party but later came back through a path behind the house. The groom didn’t know they were back. The D.A.’s office said that the brothers taunted Melgoza from behind a fence and told him to jump over to the other side.
“Once Melgoza and his family jumped the fence, the brothers started hitting them all with bats and fists,” the release said. “One of the Castaneda brothers who ran into a different house was able to get rid of his bat with the help of a family member. Melgoza was following them, so he ran into the yard without any weapons. A few minutes later, the Castaneda brothers were seen jumping the fence out of the unrelated house with a single bat, which was never found.”
The Chino Police Department got there first because a family member had been hurt and needed help. But later, they found Melgoza’s dead body in the yard where the Castaneda brothers had run. Melgoza died “within minutes” after being hit in the head with something hard.
Josue told the police that he wasn’t at the party, but when he was arrested, a photobooth picture of him and Rony with a female guest was found in his front pocket. The police were also able to find Josue and Rony with the help of Snapchat.
San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson said, “I’m proud of how hard my colleagues worked on this case and how determined they were to get justice for a family that went through unimaginable pain at a time when they should have been filled with love and happiness.” “This conviction can’t take away the pain that two people caused, but I hope it gives Joe Melgoza’s wife and other loved ones some peace of mind.”
On March 13, they will get their sentences.
It’s not clear who is speaking for Rony and Josue when they say something.
The person who died was called “a loving son, brother, father, cousin, partner, family member, and friend” in a GoFundMe page set up after his death to raise money for his funeral.
“He always had a way to make you smile. He was always there to help when you needed it. He was taken away from us in such a horrible and sad way.”
Melgoza’s daughter and new wife took care of him after he died.
“He is leaving his daughter Lilly with Joe’s family, who will take good care of her. At this time, we need your help for Joe’s funeral and for Lilly, his little girl. Joe’s mom, Isela, is devastated and heartbroken, and she is having a hard time taking it all in.”