AJ Freund's mother pleads guilty to murder in the five-year-old's beating death

Mail Online | 12/5/2019 | Megan Sheets For Dailymail.com
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The mother of slain five-year-old AJ Freund has pleaded guilty to murder in the April beating death of her son.

JoAnn Cunningham, 36, entered the plea during a Thursday hearing at the McHenry County courthouse in Illinois.

Years - Prison

She faces 20 to 60 years in prison.

Cunningham and AJ's father, Andrew Freund were charged with first-degree murder and other crimes back in April.

Prosecutors - AJ - Death - Family - Home

Prosecutors said AJ was beaten to death at the family's home in Crystal Lake on April 15, three days before his parents told police he'd disappeared from his bed in the middle of the night.

A desperate weeklong search for the boy came to a tragic end when his body was found wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave in Woodstock.

Autopsy - AJ - Blunt - Force - Trauma

An autopsy determined AJ died from blunt force trauma to the head. He also had other visible marks and bruises on his body.

Andrew Freund has yet to enter a plea. Both defendants have been held in the McHenry County jail on $5million bail.

Cunningham - Plea - Months - Mother - Child

Cunningham's guilty plea comes roughly two months after the mother tearfully denied having hurt her child and instead pointed the finger at Freund.

'I would rather kill myself than hurt my family. I'd rather kill myself than hurt anybody,' Cunningham said in a tearful jailhouse interview with CBS.


She admitted that she used drugs when she was pregnant, and said it was 'something I cannot take back'.

Asked directly if she killed AJ, she replied: 'No. I would never hurt my children.'

Attempt - Blame - AJ - Father - Drew

In an apparent attempt to cast blame on AJ's father, she said: 'If it's Drew, then he needs to grow some balls and he needs to tell them so everyone isn't suffering. You know, I'm scared.'

In the wake of AJ's murder it emerged that Child Protective Services had been...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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