California: Two wedding crashers charged with murder for killing groom at his own reception

National News

Chino, Calif. (CNN)(12/18/19)— Two brothers have been charged with murder for allegedly killing a groom outside his own wedding reception.

According to police in Chino, California, Rony Aristides Castaneda Ramirez, age 28, and Josue Daniel Castaneda Ramirez, age 19, are accused of killing Joseph Melgoza, age 30, and assaulting two men on Sunday.

In a news release, police said Melgoza suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, but neither the news release nor the complaint from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office specifies whether a weapon was used.

The complaint says the other men, Jose Mancera and Juan Bustamante, were attacked with baseball bats. The Ramirez brothers are each charged with murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. They were scheduled to have their first court hearing Tuesday afternoon.

On Saturday, hours before being beaten, Melgoza had married Esther Bustamante. Melgoza’s daughter, Lilly, had served as their ring bearer during the ceremony.

Andy Velasquez, Melgoza’s brother, remembers seeing the Ramirez brothers at the reception.

“We didn’t think much of it because there was so many people there we didn’t know,” he said. “It was so late the only people left were very close family. So, I assumed someone knew them.” Police say there is no known relationship between the brothers and the groom.

Rony Ramirez, right, and Josue Ramirez.
Josue Ramirez, left. Rony Ramirez, right.

Velasquez says it was late when someone confronted the Ramirez brothers, and they left the reception. After the party ended, they returned, saying one of them forgot his phone.

A fight broke out in the back alley behind the house where the reception was being held. Authorities say the Ramirez brothers attacked Melgoza there; family members tell CNN the attackers used baseball bats.

Bustamante remembers calling 9-1-1 after hearing her mom call for help. Afterwards, she ran toward the commotion in the alley, seeing her brother, who was injured in the attack, but no one could find her husband.

When officers arrived, Esther Bustamante said Melgoza was still missing.

A news release from the police said officers responded to a call on Oaks Avenue about a fight around 2:20 a.m. Sunday and found “a large crowd from a nearby party and two victims of battery, who sustained minor injuries.”

According to the release, witnesses said another possible victim was missing and officers searched and found Melgoza in the rear yard of a nearby residence.

Melgoza was transported to Chino Valley Medical Center, where he later died. On Sunday afternoon, police served a search warrant at a residence on Chino Avenue and arrested the Ramirez brothers.

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