DNA Links Convicted Felon with Tortured Animal Found in Lynwood Park

Blood spatter and gruesome weapons discovered during investigation

Los Angeles, CA (8/1/19) – Jonathan Aldama (DOB 7-8-1995) pleaded no contest in court case number TA148441 to one felony count of Penal Code 597(a), animal cruelty for his part in the death of an opossum found burned and hanged from a fence in Lynwood in April 2018. The conviction is the result of a case investigated by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA).

Several homemade bladed weapons laying on white table.

Bladed weapons recovered from Aldama’s property

Aldama was sentenced to three years felony probation; 376 days L.A. County Jail (188 days actually served with credits); prohibition on possessing, owning, or having custody of any animals per PC 597.9; search and seizure conditions; mental health counseling compliant with PC 597(h) specific to animal cruelty, and restitution. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Steven R. Belis of the Compton Branch of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

This case began on April 2, 2018 when an opossum was found hanging from a noose by the neck on a chain-link fence adjacent to Yvonne-Burke-John D. Ham Park. The animal’s remains were sent for necropsy and additional evidence from the crime scene was processed for forensic evidence. The necropsy showed that the cause of death was due to “severe skull trauma leading to skull fracture and severe brain hemorrhage.” The opossum had died as the result of a violent and intentional act of animal cruelty.

The rope from the scene of the crime was sent to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center in Los Angeles for DNA testing. DNA evidence found on the rope resulted in a hit for Aldama. Aldama, a convicted felon on probation for carrying a concealed dagger, lived less than four-hundred feet from where the opossum’s body was hanged.

On January 25, 2019, spcaLA investigators coordinated an operation to conduct a Probation Compliance Search that involved the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lynwood COPS Team, and Los Angeles County Probation Department’s Special Enforcement Operations GPS/High Risk Compliance Unit at Aldama’s residence on the 11800 block of Pope Avenue, Lynwood, CA. Aldama was detained and the property searched.

The search uncovered noosed ropes, a variety of weapons including an axe, pocket knives, homemade bladed weapons, and a 29-inch scythe. Two makeshift bedrooms in the garage that belonged to Aldama revealed a sadistic and sinister environment where ritualistic torture and killings took place. All of the weapons appeared to have been obsessively sharpened. Expended shell casings were discovered on the ground, as well as blood splatters and stains on the property’s garage and concrete driveway. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab responded to process the crime scene; their Senior Criminalists determined the blood was not human in origin.

After questioning, Aldama was arrested for violation of probation and the subsequent investigation determined Aldama killed this opossum as well as two others that he killed and displayed in similar fashion. Aldama has remained in custody without bail since he was arrested on January 25, 2019.

spcaLA is the only private animal welfare organization in Los Angeles that is also Law Enforcement. spcaLA Humane Officers hold the same powers of Peace Officers in the state of California when investigating animal cruelty. spcaLA is a non-profit agency that relies on donations for its programs and services, including animal cruelty investigations. To donate, click here or call 323-334-4485.