Crime & Courts

Sentencing hearing for AJ Freund's mother rescheduled amid COVID-19 concerns

JoAnn Cunningham leaves courtroom 302 after a status hearing with Judge Robert Wilbrandt at the McHenry County Courthouse on Feb. 27 in Woodstock. In December, she plead guilty to killing her 5-year-old son, AJ Freund. She was scheduled to be sentenced on April 30.
JoAnn Cunningham leaves courtroom 302 after a status hearing with Judge Robert Wilbrandt at the McHenry County Courthouse on Feb. 27 in Woodstock. In December, she plead guilty to killing her 5-year-old son, AJ Freund. She was scheduled to be sentenced on April 30.

A sentencing hearing for the Crystal Lake mother who pleaded guilty to murdering her 5-year-old son, AJ Freund, has been rescheduled as part of a large sweep of continuances following the outbreak of COVID-19.

The hearing for 36-year-old JoAnn D. Cunningham originally was set to take place April 30. In light of concerns surrounding COVID-19, however, the hearing has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. July 16 at the McHenry County courthouse, 2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock.

Cunningham pleaded guilty Dec. 5 to first-degree murder in connection to AJ’s death. Police believe Cunningham and the boy’s father, 61-year-old Andrew Freund Sr., beat AJ and forced him into a cold shower days before the pair reporting him missing on April 18. About a week later, investigators discovered AJ’s body in a shallow grave in a rural area near Woodstock.

Prosecutors have said they intend to ask for the maximum 60-year sentence, meaning Cunningham wouldn’t be eligible for parole until she is 97 years old.

The case against Freund, also charged with first-degree murder and concealment of a death, is ongoing. He is scheduled for a routine status hearing June 19.

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