AJ FREUND: Illinois vs. Andrew Freund Sr. & JoAnn Cunningham for murder of son *GUILTY PLEAS*

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His body was recovered April 24 from a shallow grave several miles away in rural Woodstock. His parents, Andrew Freund Sr., and JoAnn Cunningham, had reported him missing six days earlier, but were charged with first-degree murder and other felonies following the discovery.

Cunningham, 36, pleaded guilty to a murder charge in December and faces up to 60 years in prison when sentenced April 30.

Freund Sr., 61, last week requested a bench trial and is scheduled to return to court April 24, the anniversary of his arrest. Both remain held in the McHenry County jail on $5 million bail.

 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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AJ Freund’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, faces up to 60 years in prison at sentencing for murder of 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy

The morning that 5-year-old AJ Freund was reported missing, police said, they noticed that the door to his room locked from the outside with a sliding chain. The windows were screwed shut. Inside the room were mouse droppings.

His mother, JoAnn Cunningham, claimed she put her son to bed the night before, and the next morning he was gone.

She had actually beaten AJ to death days earlier, prosecutors said. His body was discovered wrapped in plastic and buried in a remote area 7 miles away from his home in Crystal Lake.

Faced with extensive evidence against her, Cunningham pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in December, after eight months of denial. After once pleading for the public to help find the son she had killed, Cunningham will submit her fate to a judge Thursday.

Prosecutors will seek the maximum available sentence of 60 years in prison. While Illinois no longer allows the death penalty, a 60-year sentence served at 100% likely would amount to life in prison for the 37-year-old Cunningham.



Andrew Freund, 61, was also charged with murder. Freund told investigators that Cunningham beat the child, but he failed to stop it. Under Illinois law, prosecutors have indicated, that would make both of them accountable for murder.

Andrew Freund’s attorney, Henry Sugden, said he was working for a plea deal in his client’s case.https://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-robert-mccoppin-staff.html
 

GrandmaBear

Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter
AJ Freund’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, faces up to 60 years in prison at sentencing for murder of 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy

The morning that 5-year-old AJ Freund was reported missing, police said, they noticed that the door to his room locked from the outside with a sliding chain. The windows were screwed shut. Inside the room were mouse droppings.

His mother, JoAnn Cunningham, claimed she put her son to bed the night before, and the next morning he was gone.

She had actually beaten AJ to death days earlier, prosecutors said. His body was discovered wrapped in plastic and buried in a remote area 7 miles away from his home in Crystal Lake.

Faced with extensive evidence against her, Cunningham pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in December, after eight months of denial. After once pleading for the public to help find the son she had killed, Cunningham will submit her fate to a judge Thursday.

Prosecutors will seek the maximum available sentence of 60 years in prison. While Illinois no longer allows the death penalty, a 60-year sentence served at 100% likely would amount to life in prison for the 37-year-old Cunningham.



Andrew Freund, 61, was also charged with murder. Freund told investigators that Cunningham beat the child, but he failed to stop it. Under Illinois law, prosecutors have indicated, that would make both of them accountable for murder.

Andrew Freund’s attorney, Henry Sugden, said he was working for a plea deal in his client’s case.Robert McCoppin - Chicago Tribune

Thanks for the update. I don't like hearing about a deal for the father. He has always played more connected (was a lawyer) and innocent but he buried his own boy and wrapped him in plastic and was just as responsible for what his boys lived in and was present and contributed. Both were addicts and worse. If I recall correctly. I don't know.

I do know this one and Noah McIntosh have some of the worst details I have ever read.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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She was definitely the abuser. But he allowed it. She shouldn't have gotten a deal, but essentially she'll be in prison for life. From the link above...



Prosecutors disclosed a video from Cunningham’s phone dated March 27, 2019, which shows Cunningham choking AJ against a bathroom wall and screaming in his ear after he threatened to get her in trouble. When AJ told her, “I just don’t want a family,” she replied, “You don’t have one.”

When questioned, Andrew Freund told investigators AJ had died the night of April 14 after Cunningham was hitting him and forced him into a cold shower. AJ was put to bed, but that morning the couple found the boy dead, and Freund later buried him.

The report also cited AJ’s autopsy, which found he died of multiple blows to the head, with cuts and bruises across his body and limbs, and marks on his face matching a detachable shower head. He also had inhaled blood into his lungs.

Freund told investigators that Cunningham beat the child, but he failed to stop it. Under Illinois law, prosecutors have indicated, that would make both of them accountable for murder.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
Graphic images won't be publicized at AJ Freund's mom's sentencing Thursday

Extended media coverage of autopsy photos and other graphic evidence involving the murder of 5-year-old AJ Freund will not be allowed at his mother's sentencing hearing Thursday.

McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt on Tuesday agreed with the prosecutor's objection to allowing five photos or videos to be photographed or shown on television as part of the media coverage of the sentencing.

Wilbrandt, during Tuesday's hearing on pending motions before the sentencing, delayed a decision about photos of AJ displaying bruises.

Prosecutors argued the photos showed AJ's siblings or contained graphic images that shouldn't be publicized. Wilbrandt said he had to balance the deleterious effect of the images versus the public's right to know.


Media can't use boy's autopsy photos from mom's sentencing

A northern Illinois judge on Tuesday ruled that media must not publish or broadcast images of autopsy photographs of 5-year-old AJ Freund during the sentencing hearing of his mother, who has pleaded guilty in his murder.

McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt agreed with the prosecutor's objection to letting the five photographs or videos to be photographed or shown on television as part of the coverage of JoAnn Cunningham's sentencing that starts Thursday.


It wasn’t immediately clear which images the judge was referring to, but video of AJ, battered and bruised, that was found on Cunningham’s cellphone was key in the investigation.
 

GrandmaBear

Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter
Graphic images won't be publicized at AJ Freund's mom's sentencing Thursday

Extended media coverage of autopsy photos and other graphic evidence involving the murder of 5-year-old AJ Freund will not be allowed at his mother's sentencing hearing Thursday.

McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt on Tuesday agreed with the prosecutor's objection to allowing five photos or videos to be photographed or shown on television as part of the media coverage of the sentencing.

Wilbrandt, during Tuesday's hearing on pending motions before the sentencing, delayed a decision about photos of AJ displaying bruises.

Prosecutors argued the photos showed AJ's siblings or contained graphic images that shouldn't be publicized. Wilbrandt said he had to balance the deleterious effect of the images versus the public's right to know.


Media can't use boy's autopsy photos from mom's sentencing

A northern Illinois judge on Tuesday ruled that media must not publish or broadcast images of autopsy photographs of 5-year-old AJ Freund during the sentencing hearing of his mother, who has pleaded guilty in his murder.

McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt agreed with the prosecutor's objection to letting the five photographs or videos to be photographed or shown on television as part of the coverage of JoAnn Cunningham's sentencing that starts Thursday.


It wasn’t immediately clear which images the judge was referring to, but video of AJ, battered and bruised, that was found on Cunningham’s cellphone was key in the investigation.
While she deserves no break, I am sure the Judge can see them, and I see no reason to publicize them. This child was humilated and abused in life enough and such photos are very hard to forget. Jmo however.

If for some reason she was up for parole or going to be released, I would say use them or consider it... Assuming they even could do that is in such a case... The rights of the perps are outrageous at times... Again imo.

I am assuming this is in front of a judge and not a jury? Because a jury should certainly see them... She has pled guilty though correct?
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Yes. She has pled guilty and the judge will be sentencing her. There is no jury. The judge can see the photos, they're just not allowing the media to show them. Which I think is perfectly fine. I saw and heard things during a trial probably 12 years ago that are still in my brain. No need for the general public to SEE the extent of this poor child's abuse when we've heard more than enough details already.
 

GrandmaBear

Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter
Yes. She has pled guilty and the judge will be sentencing her. There is no jury. The judge can see the photos, they're just not allowing the media to show them. Which I think is perfectly fine. I saw and heard things during a trial probably 12 years ago that are still in my brain. No need for the general public to SEE the extent of this poor child's abuse when we've heard more than enough details already.
We had autopsy photos, I left the room during trial to not see them. I would not want them in the paper nor on TV where I could encounter them at any time...

I so agree...

It is not how this poor child should be rememebered if at all possible...
 

GrandmaBear

Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter


Anyone know how bad it is because I think I am better off not watching if too graphic and/or detailed. I remember many of the details of this poor child's life but since I have been away from it for awhile, I can keep from dwelling on it or going there if I am careful. Noah is another. At least for sure not right now for me. Was she sentenced I hope for the rest of her natural life basically?
 

kdg411

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Anyone know how bad it is because I think I am better off not watching if too graphic and/or detailed. I remember many of the details of this poor child's life but since I have been away from it for awhile, I can keep from dwelling on it or going there if I am careful. Noah is another. At least for sure not right now for me. Was she sentenced I hope for the rest of her natural life basically?
Judge is taking all statements & evidence under advisement and will announce sentence tomorrow.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
Too bad you can't. You'll get your "help" in prison.

'I'd Give My Life To Get AJ Back': Cunningham

AJ, Cunningham said, was handsome, funny and loving. He wanted to be a garbage man or a doctor or a gas station attendant or a local doughnut shop owner when he grew up. He also, like his father, wanted to be a lawyer.

"AJ carried a briefcase around every day because he wanted to be a lawyer," Cunningham said. "He was convinced, along with all of us, that he could do anything."
Cunningham did not admit to killing her son, but spoke of her weaknesses and failures in life.

"My heart and mind are consumed with sadness and grief and great remorse. There is a great sorrow in my heart. I will never be able to justify anything and nor will I ever want to," Cunningham said.

She talked about how she always felt rejected and spent the majority of her life "on autopilot," using drugs as a Band-Aid to take her pain away.

"I would give my life to get AJ back," she said. "This is something I can never escape from. I can't change the decisions of my past."

"As much as I deserve punishment, I also believe I need help. Please help me," she went on to say during the hearing on Thursday.



"We all think anything less than 60 is too small of a sentence for what she did," Larsen said. "But 60 should do the trick, she would never be out of prison ... she won't see the light of day again."
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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:mad: She only got 35 years.

AJ Freund murder: JoAnn Cunningham gets 35-year prison sentence in beating death of 5-year-old son

Judge Robert Wilbrandt told the court AJ Freund's mother JoAnn Cunningham's was responsible for his "horrible death preceded by a horrible life. "

Nevertheless, he said her guilty plea to a single murder charge limited his ability to give her a life sentence.

Cunningham showed little reaction behind her mask in the courtroom.

At Thursday's hearing she took the stand to ask for mercy, and claimed she loved her son but was disabled by a drug addiction.


A group calling themselves "Roar for AJ" gathered outside the courthouse and called for the Maximus 60 year sentence.

"We, the family of our beloved Andrew, are disappointed and saddened by the ruling of the Judge. We know that whatever the punishment, it will not ease the loss and pain we feel. AJ was an innocent, precious little boy whose life was taken from him after he endured... much pain and suffering," ROAR said in a statement.

"This is not justice.... if she got 60 years it still wasn't justice," said Tracy Kotzman with ROAR.

McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally handled the high profile case personally.

Kenneally met with reporters off camera and reacted to the sentence and said,"We are disappointed. We thought all the factors were in place for the maximum sentence which we thought was appropriate."

"Bottom line, we have nothing to celebrate... nothing will take away the suffering," he said.
 

GrandmaBear

Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter
:mad: She only got 35 years.

AJ Freund murder: JoAnn Cunningham gets 35-year prison sentence in beating death of 5-year-old son

Judge Robert Wilbrandt told the court AJ Freund's mother JoAnn Cunningham's was responsible for his "horrible death preceded by a horrible life. "

Nevertheless, he said her guilty plea to a single murder charge limited his ability to give her a life sentence.

Cunningham showed little reaction behind her mask in the courtroom.

At Thursday's hearing she took the stand to ask for mercy, and claimed she loved her son but was disabled by a drug addiction.


A group calling themselves "Roar for AJ" gathered outside the courthouse and called for the Maximus 60 year sentence.

"We, the family of our beloved Andrew, are disappointed and saddened by the ruling of the Judge. We know that whatever the punishment, it will not ease the loss and pain we feel. AJ was an innocent, precious little boy whose life was taken from him after he endured... much pain and suffering," ROAR said in a statement.

"This is not justice.... if she got 60 years it still wasn't justice," said Tracy Kotzman with ROAR.

McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally handled the high profile case personally.

Kenneally met with reporters off camera and reacted to the sentence and said,"We are disappointed. We thought all the factors were in place for the maximum sentence which we thought was appropriate."

"Bottom line, we have nothing to celebrate... nothing will take away the suffering," he said.

Are you SERIOUS??? What is going on in our nation and some of our states?? Honestly?? She may have had the worst childhood, I don't care--it does NOT excuse her choices for years and years... I am so sick of something blamed on drugs or this or that...

It is all or seems to be about the poor criminal these days... And THEIR future...

Want my guess? She gets 35 so they can really excuse giving daddy almost nothing...!
 

GrandmaBear

Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter
:mad: She only got 35 years.

AJ Freund murder: JoAnn Cunningham gets 35-year prison sentence in beating death of 5-year-old son

Judge Robert Wilbrandt told the court AJ Freund's mother JoAnn Cunningham's was responsible for his "horrible death preceded by a horrible life. "

Nevertheless, he said her guilty plea to a single murder charge limited his ability to give her a life sentence.

Cunningham showed little reaction behind her mask in the courtroom.

At Thursday's hearing she took the stand to ask for mercy, and claimed she loved her son but was disabled by a drug addiction.


A group calling themselves "Roar for AJ" gathered outside the courthouse and called for the Maximus 60 year sentence.

"We, the family of our beloved Andrew, are disappointed and saddened by the ruling of the Judge. We know that whatever the punishment, it will not ease the loss and pain we feel. AJ was an innocent, precious little boy whose life was taken from him after he endured... much pain and suffering," ROAR said in a statement.

"This is not justice.... if she got 60 years it still wasn't justice," said Tracy Kotzman with ROAR.

McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally handled the high profile case personally.

Kenneally met with reporters off camera and reacted to the sentence and said,"We are disappointed. We thought all the factors were in place for the maximum sentence which we thought was appropriate."

"Bottom line, we have nothing to celebrate... nothing will take away the suffering," he said.

Getting more irate. This is BULL. Absolute bull. Children just do not seem to matter and it sickens me... This woman has nothing to contribute to society and likely never will. She did not have no chances in life nor choices, she had many. She has two kids younger than AJ who thank goodness are not with her... One older child that fortunately was not raised in her clutches entirely. A terrible drug addiction no doubt. I am trying to remember the part now about her driving to Elkhorn, Wisconsin to a certain doctor to get scrip drugs... Or more scrips... Than allowed. If I recall she also sold such things when not needing them herself...

I don't know who the doctor was but I do know Elkhorn is small, quite small....

With both herself and her attorney baby daddy, they fell at minimum to addiction... They had more efforts of those trying to help, at least he did, than any chance AJ ever had...

I hope personally an outrage results over this sentence... As well as a recall or petition for same.
 

GrandmaBear

Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter

It would even be one thing if they both had not lied and lied and lied and lied and lied... 35 years is a long sentence but what is the reason of her getting out then? For what purpose? To serve what purpose? What is the point? Or does this 35 years give her a chance of out way earlier...? I would like to know... Because if that is the case...
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
Andrew Freund’s Attorney In ‘Pretty Serious Negotiations’ With Prosecutors After JoAnn Cunningham’s 35-Year Sentence In Murder Of A.J. Freund

The attorney representing Andrew Freund in the murder of his 5-year-old son, A.J. Freund, told a McHenry County judge on Thursday he’s been engaged in “pretty serious negotiations” ever since A.J.’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, pleaded guilty in December.

A.J.’s father has pleaded not guilty, but at a status hearing on Thursday, Special Public Defender Henry Sugden told McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt “the state and I have been engaged in pretty serious negotiations” ever since Cunningham’s plea.

Freund is due back in court on Aug. 28.
 

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