December 3, 2022

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The Science of News

Expected Plea Deal for Father of AJ Freund

2 min read

A plea deal was revealed in a hearing Wednesday for Andrew T. Freund, the father of murdered Illinois boy AJ Freund, 5. The details were not discussed. Both sides of the case are scheduled to return to court Friday at 1:30 p.m. CT for the actual plea.

This marks the end of a negotiation process that lasted about a year.

“I believe we will be able to resolve this on Sept. 16,” McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese said in a August 28 hearing, according to The Daily Herald.

The defense lawyer for Freund Sr., 61, said nothing to contradict that.

“I’m still in discussions with the state,” attorney Henry Sugden said. He had signaled a possible resolution as far back as October 2019.

If these discussions fell through, then defendant Freund would have been set for a trial scheduled to begin December 9. AJ’s mother JoAnn Cunningham, 37, pleaded guilty to her role in the child’s death, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison for first-degree murder.

In the allegations, Freund Sr. told investigators that on April 14, 2019, Cunningham struck AJ, and forced him to take a cold shower to make him admit soiling his underwear. She put the nozzle in the child’s face, according to this account. Freund Sr. allegedly said his son would sometimes lose balance and fall in the tub.

AJ was found dead in bed the next day, according to this story. His father allegedly moved the body from their Crystal Lake home, and buried the body in a shallow grave about seven miles away in the town of Woodstock, Illinois. Freund Sr. called 911 on April 18, and feigned ignorance about his son’s whereabouts, authorities said.

This plea deal will not be the end of the story, however. Two fired child welfare workers who belonged to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services–Carlos J. Acosta, 54, and his supervisor Andrew R. Polovin, 48–were both charged with reckless conduct, and endangering the life of a child. Freund Jr’s family was in contact with authorities quite a bit in the years leading to his death, and these two defendants are accused of mishandling his case.

Note: This article was revised to reflect the results of the hearing, in which the plea deal was announced.

#AJFreund #AndrewTFreund

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