Widow Says She Doesn't Know What to Do After Groom Beaten to Death on Wedding Night

She said he always helped everyone who needed him, and she says “she honestly does not know what to do.”

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A heartbroken bride said she just doesn’t know what she’s going to do after her husband of just a few hours was brutally beaten to death after their reception by wedding crashers who were not invited.

The family of 30-year-old Joe Melgoza prayed the rosary in the backyard of a Chino home where on Saturday night, he was celebrating with his new bride Esther. It would be where he would spend his first and last day as a newlywed. 

Hours after the celebration ended, he was beaten so severely he later died at the hospital. 

Family members and Chino police said the two suspects, identified as Rony and Josue Castañeda Ramirez, showed up to the reception uninvited. They didn't know the groom but lived nearby.

Rony and Josue Castañeda Ramirez pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday.

The two went unnoticed during the party but after everyone was asked to leave, they returned to the house around 2:20 a.m. Sunday armed with baseball bats. They were accused of starting to attack people. 

“My brother was protecting our family,” his brother Andy Velasquez said. “They came and they murdered my brother. My brother did no wrong. They took him from us.” 

What motivated the attack is under investigation, but Melgoza died at the hospital from blunt force trauma to the head. 

“Those cowards came back with bats. They were in the alley and it was dark,” the victim’s brother said. “They pulled him into the house and they killed him."

Family members said they don't know why the men came back.

In written exchanges, his heartbroken bride Esther said that Melgoza liked to keep to himself – that he was humble and strong. 

She said he always helped everyone who needed him, and she says “she honestly does not know what to do.”

His siblings said because they were raised by a single mother, he was the father figure of the family.

Witnesses say the brothers accused of murdering Joe Melgoza came back with bats and started attacking people at the wedding reception. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019.

He was also a father to an 11-year-old daughter Lilly. She has since been staying with her grandmother since the traumatizing attack. 

The suspects face murder and assault with a deadly weapon charges. They pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday.

"That is what hurts the most is that after they came here and tore this family apart on the happiest day, that they still want to deny what they did," a relative who wished to remain anonymous said.

Contact Us