DNA links convicted felon to opossum found stabbed, beaten, burned, and hung with noose in Lynwood

The killer and torturer of an opossum found stabbed, beaten, burned, and hung from a fence in Lynwood was caught by investigators after DNA on the noose around its neck was matched to a convicted felon who lived nearby.

The opossum was found hanging in April 2018 at Yvonne-Burke-John D. Ham park, and SPCALA’s Captain Cesar Perea told FOX 11 it was one of the most sadistic cases he’s ever seen.

“It’s up there, I’d say top 10 in my career,” he said. “He stabbed it several times, hung it with a noose, and then set it on fire.”

But it was the noose around its neck that ended up bringing down its killer. 

“We removed the noose, and we submitted the noose to the crime lab, and the crime lab pulled DNA from the noose and we got a hit on our suspect,” Perea said. 

The DNA matched to a convicted felon named Jonathan Aldama, who lived just 400 feet away from the park. 

When police went to his house to arrest him, they were horrified at what was in his bedroom. 

“God, I wanna say we found like 15-20 weapons that were all sharpened and handmade,” Perea said. “We found a large amount of blood around these two makeshift bedrooms he had built in the garage.”

Perea showed FOX 11 the weapons that were recovered, several of which were still stained with blood. 

After Aldama was arrested on a charge of felony animal cruelty, Captain Perea interviewed him.

“Not only did he admit to the crime that we were investigating, but he admitted to doing that two prior times, to torturing and killing animals,” Perea said. “He had some really bizarre comments that he made that one of the opossums was calling to him, that he came over to try to help it.”

Aldama has been in jail since January, with no bail. 

But after seeing the brutality he’s capable of, Perea worries what could happen when he gets out.

“He’s young, and unfortunately he’s had a lot of opportunity to practice this, so if there is no real intervention somewhere in his life then most definitely we’ll be seeing him doing this to humans at a later time,” he said.

This week, Aldama pleaded no contest to his charges and was sentenced to 3 years felony probation, 367 days in jail with some credit for time served, he can never own animals again, and he must undergo mental health counseling.