Two California brothers have been convicted of murder in connection with the death of a groom at a 2019 wedding reception.
NBC News reports a jury on Wednesday found Rony and Josue Castaneda, 31 and 22 respectively, guilty of second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon in the December 2019 slaying of Joe Melgoza.
On Dec. 15, 2019, the Castaneda brothers crashed the wedding reception of newlywed couple Joe and Esther Melgoza, who were celebrating their vows at a family residence in Chino, California.
“Although the Casteneda brothers did not have any apparent connection to the wedding party, they lived nearby and likely heard the festivities and went to the reception, uninvited,” the DA’s statement said. “At the reception, the brothers were seen socializing, dancing and taking photos with female guests.”
After mingling with guests, the Castaneda brothers were asked to leave the reception, at which point the pair went home and retrieved baseball bats, before returning to the reception and taunting Melgoza’s family on the opposite side of a chain link fence.
The groom and a few others proceeded to confront the Castaneda brothers, resulting in the fatal beating of Melgoza, who was pronounced dead at the scene from blunt force trauma to the head.
“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.”
Rony and Josue Casaneda are expected to be sentenced on March 13, 2023.