Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Media can't use boy's autopsy photos from mom's sentencing

Media can't use boy's autopsy photos from mom's sentencing

  • Updated
  • 0
AJ Freund

Cars line up as mourners head to visitation services for AJ Freund at Davenport Funeral Home in Crystal Lake, Ill. May 3, 2019.

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. — A northern Illinois judge on Tuesday ruled that media must not publish or broadcast images of autopsy photographs of 5-year-old AJ Freund during the sentencing hearing of his mother, who has pleaded guilty in his murder.

McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt agreed with the prosecutor's objection to letting the five photographs or videos to be photographed or shown on television as part of the coverage of JoAnn Cunningham's sentencing that starts Thursday.

Cunningham pleaded guilty in December to murder in the beating death of her son, who was killed last April and buried in a shallow grave near the family’s Crystal Lake home. She faces up to 60 years in prison.

Demolition begins at Chicago-area house where boy was killed

The boy’s father, Andrew Freund Sr., was also charged with first-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held on $5 million bond in McHenry County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in court for a status hearing on July 30.

An autopsy revealed that AJ died from multiple blunt force injuries to his head.

The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald said Wilbrandt will hear motions before deciding whether journalists can use other images that show bruises on the boy’s body.

It wasn’t immediately clear which images the judge was referring to, but video of AJ, battered and bruised, that was found on Cunningham’s cellphone was key in the investigation.

Freund initially reported his son missing, prompting a massive search of the area. He later led detectives to the boy’s grave after they confronted him with the video on Cunningham’s cellphone. A woman, believed to be Cunningham, can be heard berating the child for urinating in bed.

Get to know these new Indiana laws that take effect in 2020


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News


Entertainment & Dining

Latest News

Local Sports

NWI Prep Sport News

Weather Alerts