Parents charged in murder of 5-year-old AJ Freund plead not guilty

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WOODSTOCK, Ill.  — An Illinois mother and father charged with murder in the death of their 5-year-old son have plead not guilty in court Friday.

A grand jury has formally indicted 36-year-old JoAnn Cunningham and 60-year-old Andrew Freund Sr. of Crystal Lake.

They appeared in McHenry County Court separately Friday, where they each entered a plea of not guilty.

Cunningham and Freund Sr. face murder charges in Andrew “AJ” Freund’s beating death last month. Police found AJ’s body in a shallow grave covered with straw April 24, nine days after authorities say he died and a week after his parents reported him missing .

Along with the murder charges, they’re charged with battery and concealing a homicide. Combined, AJ’s parents are facing 41 charges.

The indictment accuses them of a separate videotaped beating in March, as well as charges of child endangerment and reckless conduct from last September.

Public defenders represent both parents. Freund’s court-appointed attorney on Tuesday asked for a psychological evaluation of his client.

According to an affidavit, the parents forced AJ to take a cold shower before he died as punishment for lying about soiling his underwear.

Freund Sr. and Cunningham are being held in a McHenry County jail on $5 million bail each.

The two will be back in court on June 18.

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