Two brothers were convicted of beating a man to death shortly after he got married.
Rony Castaneda, 31, and Josue Castaneda, 22, were found guilty of second-degree murder for killing Joe Melgoza, 30. They also were found guilty of a charge of assault with a deadly weapon for injuring Juan Bustamonte, the bride’s brother.
Jurors in San Bernardino County, Calif., returned the verdict on Feb. 9, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Melgoza got married on Dec. 14, 2019. The festivities ended at a wedding reception at a family home with a mariachi band, photo booth, bar, DJ, and dance floor, authorities said.
The Castenedas had no apparent link to the party, but they lived nearby, authorities. Prosecutors suggest they heard the festivities. The brothers crashed the wedding reception, which ended in the attack, early the following day on Dec. 15, 2019.
“At the reception, the brothers were seen socializing, dancing and taking photos with female guests,” authorities said. “At the end of the wedding reception, the brothers left, only to return unbeknownst to the victim and his family, armed with baseball bats.”
The brothers returned on a trail behind the home. Standing in the dark behind a fence, they “made antagonizing statements to Melgoza to jump over the fence to their side. Once Melgoza and his family jumped the fence, the brothers began hitting them all with bats and fists.”
A Melgoza family member managed to take a bat from one of the Castaneda brothers, who ran to another house. Joe Melgoza followed unarmed into the yard.
The defendants’ however, were seen jumping the fence out of that home, according to prosecutors. They were armed with a single bat. It was never found, authorities said.
Chino police arrived to tend to an injured family member but found Melgoza dead in the yard where the Castaneda brothers were last seen. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. He was dead in minutes.
Josue denied to cops that he attended the reception, but officers said they found a photobooth photo of both brothers with a female guest from the reception in his front pocket.
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