Case Update: AJ Freund’s Mother, JoAnn Cunningham, Appears in Court

Pudgy JoAnn Cunningham appears in court in prison orange
JoAnn appears a lot, er, healthier than the last time she appeared publicly.
(Daily Herald)

JoAnn Cunningham, 36, of Crystal Lake, Illinois, looks very different than the skinny, strung out appearance she bore when she was arrested last year. She was photographed in court on Thursday, January 30 for the first time since she pled guilty to the murder of her 5-year-old son, AJ Freund, who I have covered extensively on this blog.

JoAnn’s trial has been approved for extended media coverage allowing cameras in the courtroom. Her husband, Andrew “Drew” Freund Sr., has also been filmed in the courtroom under the new McHenry County rule allowing the media to be present during court hearings.

Upon request by McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Richard Behof, who is representing JoAnn, County Judge Robert Wilbrandt postponed JoAnn’s case until March 19, when a date may be set for sentencing. Yes, that means they’ve set a date to set a date for JoAnn to receive her sentence. Makes your head spin, doesn’t it?

Judge Robert Wilbrandt
Judge Robert Wilbrandt at the hearing.
(Daily Herald)

When she is sentenced, JoAnn could face 20 to 60 years in prison.

Behof requested more time before the sentencing hearing because he has not yet reviewed JoAnn’s psychological evaluations with her. “I don’t want to set a sentencing [date] until I have all the evaluations and I can go over the evaluations with her,” Behof said after the hearing.

There was no objection from Assistant State’s Attorney Rita Gara.

This is worth mentioning: this may be old news to some of you, but I just happened upon the audio of Drew’s 911 call reporting AJ missing last April (super casually, I might add), which I haven’t heard before. If you want to listen, it’s here.

The former Freund home in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
(NBC Chicago)

JoAnn and Drew were indicted on 20 charges each, and Drew was also indicted on an additional count of making a false complaint to 911 for that call.

Drew’s next court date is set for February 27. He and JoAnn have both been cooling their heels in the McHenry County Jail since their arrest in April of 2019.

The prayer card from AJ’s memorial last year. That proverb is just beautiful.
(Illinois Review)

Sources: Northwest Herald, NBC Chicago, Daily Herald

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