Attorneys meet with judge to discuss resolution in case against AJ Freund's father

Prosecutors and the attorney for AJ Freund's father met with a judge in chambers Thursday to discuss a potential resolution to the case that would avoid a trial.

“There's no offer made, no actual plea offer. We're just trying to approach the judge and see if there are any areas we can agree on, things that could be made,” Henry Sugden, the court-appointed attorney for Andrew Freund Sr., said after Thursday's conference.

Freund, 60, and AJ's mother, JoAnn Cunningham, 36, are charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and other offenses stemming from the 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy's death in April. The pair were arrested April 24 after AJ's body was recovered from a shallow grave near Woodstock, six days after he was reported missing.

Authorities allege AJ was beaten to death April 15 in his home after being forced to endure a cold shower. His parents have pleaded not guilty and remain jailed on $5 million bail each.

Attorneys met behind closed doors Thursday with McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt for what is known as a 402 conference. Details of what was discussed were not made public.

“We're just trying to narrow the field and see what the judge would consider,” Sugden said.

“We're still trying to resolve it. We just don't have it resolved yet.”

Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Randi Freese said no plea offers have been made and declined to comment further.

The matter was continued to Oct. 29.

Before Thursday, the most recent movement in the Freund Sr. case was on Oct. 9, when prosecutors turned over records including transcripts related to interviews with Cunningham on April 18 and a report of an interview with the neighbor across the street from the Freund's Dole Avenue home on Aug. 27.

Sugden declined to say whether his client would agree to testify against Cunningham, but he noted Freund already has helped police by leading authorities to AJ's body. Freund also is charged with concealing the death.

The FBI said Freund confessed that his son was dead and blamed Cunningham, authorities. He told investigators he had buried the boy in a field near Woodstock, authorities said.

Cunningham's next scheduled criminal court appearance is Jan. 10.

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