McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt Jr. speaks on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in a courtroom at the McHenry County Courthouse as lawyers discuss the status of the murder case involving Crystal Lake mother JoAnn Cunningham. Cunningham, who pleaded guilty in December 2019 to killing her 5-year-old son, AJ Freund, is due back in court on Feb. 27, 2020. This appearance marks the third case in which cameras have been allowed in McHenry County courtrooms.
McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt Jr. speaks on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in a courtroom at the McHenry County Courthouse as lawyers discuss the status of the murder case involving Crystal Lake mother JoAnn Cunningham. Cunningham, who pleaded guilty in December 2019 to killing her 5-year-old son, AJ Freund, is due back in court on Feb. 27, 2020. This appearance marks the third case in which cameras have been allowed in McHenry County courtrooms.

A sentencing hearing for the Crystal Lake mother who pleaded guilty to murdering her 5-year-old son AJ Freund is set to take place April 30.

Cunningham made a brief court appearance Thursday at the McHenry County courthouse in Woodstock, where judge Robert Wilbrandt set the case for sentencing. Cunningham pleaded guilty Dec. 5 to first-degree murder in connection with AJ's death.

She faces a maximum possible 60-year prison sentence. Cunningham wouldn't be eligible for parole until she is 96 years old. The boy's father, Andrew Freund Sr. also made a court appearance Thursday and waived his right to a jury trial. If the case were to go to trial a judge would be responsible for deciding whether Freund is guilty or not guilty.

Freund remained at the McHenry County Jail Thursday on a $5 million bond. Cunningham's bond was revoked after she entered her guilty plea.

Freund and Cunningham were arrested April 24 after Freund allegedly led investigators to a rural burial site in Woodstock.

About a week earlier, Freund called 911 and reported AJ missing. The news launched a nationwide search for the 5-year-old boy who was reported to have been last seen wearing Ninja Turtle pajamas before bed the night before.

The house at 94 Dole Avenue, where AJ lived with his parents and younger brother, has been approved for demolition. A private real estate investor who previously placed the sole and winning bid on the property has since relinquished the mortgage and no longer is responsible for the thousands of dollars of past due property taxes on liens.

Cunningham is scheduled for one additional status court date on March 19. Freund is due back in court April 24.

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Northwest Herald