California groom, 30, is beaten to death with baseball bats at his reception by ‘wedding crasher brothers’ as he tried to protect guests
- Joe Melgoza, 30, was beaten to death in Chino, California, early Sunday, just hours after marrying his fiancee
- Rony Castaneda Ramirez, 28, and his 19-year-old brother, Josue Castaneda Ramirez, have been charged with murder
- Police say the brothers did not know the groom but lived near the wedding reception venue and arrived without an invitation
- Melgoza’s brother says the groom confronted the wedding crashers after they got into a fight with some guests
- Castaneda Ramirez brothers allegedly left, then returned with baseball bats and Melgoza on a neighboring property
- Melgoza leaves behind his newlywed wife and his 11-year-old daughter, of whom he had full custody
Just hours after a California couple exchanged their wedding vows over the weekend, police say two brothers came to the newlyweds’ backyard reception uninvited and beat the groom to death with baseball bats.
Joe Melgoza, 30, was found suffering from a blunt-force trauma to the head in the backyard of a home located across the street from the reception venue in Chino, California, at around 2.20am on Sunday.
Melgoza was rushed to Chino Valley Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries, leaving behind his wife of just a few hours, Esther Bustamante Melgoza, and his 11-year-old daughter.
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Short-lived wedded bliss: Joe Melgoza, 30, is pictured with his new wife, Esther, just hours before his brutal murder during the couple’s wedding reception in California
Wedding crashers: Rony Aristides Castaneda Ramirez, 28 (left), and his 19-year-old brother, Josue Daniel Castaneda Ramirez (right), have been charged with the groom’s killing
The Castaneda Ramirez siblings allegedly came uninvited to the Melgoza wedding reception at the Chino, California, home of the bride’s family (pictured)
Based on information obtained from witnesses, police identified the suspects in the groom’s brutal killing as brothers Rony Aristides Castaneda Ramirez, 28, and 19-year-old Josue Daniel Castaneda Ramirez.
According to the Chino Police Department, the siblings did not know Melgoza, but lived not far from the home of his wife’s family in the 13200 block of 17th Street where the wedding reception was being held, and showed up at the celebration uninvited, reported KTLA5.
The wedding crashers allegedly started a fight with some of the guests and were asked to leave, which they did, only to return a short time later armed with baseball bats, according to Melgoza’s brother Andy Velasquez.
Velasquez told NBC Los Angeles through sobs that his brother tried to confront the ‘cowards,’ who then pulled him away and killed him.
Two other people attending the wedding celebration sustained minor injuries in the earlier confrontation with the Castaneda Ramirez brothers.
Final images: Screenshots from a cellphone video recorded at the reception show Joe and Esther dancing and having a great time at their reception, just hours before the horror
Esther’s family hosted the couple’s reception in the backyard of their home in Chino
Melgoza is pictured with siblings on what was supposed to be the happiest day of his life
‘My brother did not deserve to die like that, he was a good man, he was a solid man,’ Velasquez said, while comforted by his two surviving brothers and a sister. ‘My brother was protecting his family. They came and they murdered him.’
Velasquez said of Melgoza that he was a father figure to him who had taught him how to be a man and how to raise his own family.
According to his Facebook page, Melgoza and his then-fiancee, Esther, married in a modest civil ceremony back in August, five months before Saturday’s backyard celebration.
His brother Andy Velasquez said through sobs that Melgoza died protecting his family
Melgoza and his then-fiance married in a modest civil ceremony back in August (left). He had sole custody of his 11-year-old daughter from a previous relationship
Video recorded at the reception and shared with NBC shows a beaming Melgoza dancing with his beautiful bride and raising a glass with his guests, not knowing at the time the horror ahead.
‘Joe was a loving son, brother, father, cousin, partner, family member and friend,’ reads the description of a GoFundMe campaign. ‘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.
Melgoza is survived by his honor student 11-year-old daughter, Lilly, of whom he had full custody. The girl will now be raised by her father’s family.
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