Wedding Crashers Convicted of Beating Groom to Death at Reception

Two brothers were found guilty of beating a groom to death with a baseball bat this week, after the pair — who didn’t know the bride or groom — crashed the wedding reception in 2019.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office announced the conviction earlier this week, after the trial wrapped up last month. In addition to the murder charge, they were also convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in relation to injuries sustained by the bride’s brother during the incident.

It all went down on December 14, 2019, as Joe Melgoza, 30, celebrated his wedding with new wife Esther. Following the ceremony, the pair had a reception at a family residence, equipped with a mariachi band, photo booth, DJ and dance floor.

The DA said the brothers lived nearby and, “likely” hearing the festivities, decided to crash the party. The two were reportedly seen throughout the evening, “socializing, dancing and taking photos with female guests,” before leaving and returning later with baseball bats.

“Standing in the dark behind a fence they made antagonizing statements to Melgoza to jump over the fence to their side,” read a release from the DA. “Once Melgoza and his family jumped the fence, the brothers began hitting them all with bats and fists.”

The brothers then retreated to a nearby residence, followed by an unarmed Melgoza, before they they ran off. When police arrived, they found the groom dead in the nearby yard. His cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma to the head, with the DA saying he “died within minutes.”

Police linked the brothers to the attack thanks to Snapchat information and while one of them denied attending the reception, a photo booth photo showing the pair with a female guest at the reception was found inside the man’s pocket.

The pair will be sentenced on March 13. Melgoza is survived by his wife and daughter.

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