Two Brothers Convicted of Murder After Beating Groom, Joe Melgoza, to Death in 2019 – Just Hours After Saying His Vows

Joe Melgoza was enjoying one of the most special days of his life after saying ‘I do’ to his new wife on December 14, 2019. After the wedding ceremony, he – along with his closest friends and family members – held a wedding reception in the backyard of one of his family member’s homes in Chino, California. 

That’s when the unthinkable happened. Just hours after saying his vows and becoming a husband, Melgoza was attacked by two men – Rony Castaneda, 31, and Josue Castaneda, 22 – at the wedding reception. The two brothers, who weren’t invited to the reception, ended up beating Melgoza to death. 

On Wednesday, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office released a statement that confirmed the two brothers were convicted of second-degree murder and found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon after also beating Melgoza’s brother, Juan Bustamonte – who, unlike Joe, survived his injuries.

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“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 Jason Anderson (a district attorney) – adding he hopes the Melgoza family receives a ‘measure of closure.’

The incident was as unfortunate as it gets on an individual’s wedding day. The family was dancing and partying the night away when the Castaneda brothers showed up. Photos and videos from that night showed the brothers enjoying the festivities, despite not being invited. They eventually left the reception.

The brothers returned and were standing behind a fence that separated the reception from a neighbor’s yard. They began taunting Melgoza and were trying to pick a fight. In response, Melgoza and several of his family members jumped the fence and started to fight the brothers, who were equipped with bats.

When police arrived at the scene, they first found Melgoza’s injured brother. Not long after tending to him, they found the body of Joe Melgoza, who had died within minutes of allegedly being hit in the head by one of the baseball bats. The Castaneda brothers denied being at the party, but photos tell otherwise.

Castaneda Brothers Facing Sentencing on March 13 in Murder of Joe Melgoza

Now that the two Castaneda brothers have been found guilty and convicted of their charges – not just for the murder of Joe Melgoza, but for the injuries to Juan Bustamonte – they now await sentencing, which is set for March 13. Melgoza is being described as someone ‘who always had a way to make you smile.’

On December 16, 2019 – the day after the events unfolded – Melgoza’s cousin started a GoFundMe account to help pay for his services and provide for his little girl, Lilly. All donations are being sent to Joe’s mother, Isela Dubon, who is ‘devastated’ and ‘heartbroken’ as she struggles to accept what happened. 

Over the past three years, the GoFundMe account has received more than 1,100 donations in Joe’s honor – totaling more than $41,000 of the family’s original $20,000 goal. Our hearts and prayers go out to Joe Melgoza’s family, his wife, and his little girl as they await the sentencing for the Castaneda brothers. 

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“Joe was 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 anytime to give a helping hand. He was taken from us in such a tragic and horrific way. He leaves behind his daughter Lilly who will be in good hands with Joe’s family.”

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