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Crime & Courts

Judge agrees to consider negotiated plea deal for AJ Freund's father Friday

The father of 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund could accept a plea deal Friday afternoon for his part in his son’s death, the prosecutor confirmed to a McHenry County judge Wednesday morning.

A brief status hearing was held Wednesday morning for Freund, 61, of Crystal Lake. AJ was beaten to death last year and buried in a shallow field in Woodstock.

Freund, clad in orange jail issued garb and a white mask, stood alongside his attorney Henry “Hank” Sugden who asked the judge for a “very brief conference.”

Sugden said they are in negotiations with the state.

Judge Robert Wilbrandt asked prosecutors if that was true, and said if not, he would see them all back in December for when a trial had been set.

Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese confirmed there were active negotiations underway.

Wilbrandt set a 1:30 p.m. Friday hearing for a negotiated plea.

Freund is charged with multiple counts of murder, aggravated battery to a child, aggravated domestic battery, concealment of a homicide, failure to report a child’s death, obstruction of justice through the destruction of evidence, and unlawful restraint, according to the McHenry County indictment.

If Freund were to go to trial and found guilty, he would spend the rest of his life in prison, his attorney has said.

AJ’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, 37, pleaded guilty to murdering her son and is currently serving a 35 year prison term in Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln.

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