In front of a crowded courtroom in Woodstock on Friday, the parents of 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" friend did not plead guilty to their son's death last month.
The parents, Andrew Freund and JoAnn Cunningham from Crystal Lake, each requested a lawsuit. Each of them could face life imprisonment, according to McHenry County Assistant Prosecutor Rita Gara.
On Thursday, the couple were indicted in 41 cases. Along with the murder, they are accused of concealing a body, of aggravating the domestic abuse of a child under the age of 13 and other crimes.
The indictment alleges that Friend and Cunningham beat AJ for his body and head and committed "gross assault". "The indictment also states that" the murder was accompanied by exceptionally brutal or abominable behavior indicative of wanton cruelty. "
Cunningham, 36, first appeared in court, accompanied by her attorney, Deputy Defender Rick Behof, and two Correctional Emergency Response Teams Officers in bulletproof vests.
When one of the officers repeatedly ransacked the room, Gara read the 20 charges against her, including three cases of murder, and the possible punishment areas.The visibly pregnant Cunningham stood with her head bowed before Judge Robert Wilbrand.
The 60-year-old friend was the next to appear with his attorney, the special defender Henry Sugden, and the two officers, while Gara's 21
AJ was found in a shallow pit grave six days after friend made the 911 call on April 18, according to the authorities. Three days earlier, the authorities said, the boy had been beaten to death. His body was kept in the basement of the family home on Dole Avenue until friend moved him two days later to a field in Woodstock and buried there.
When a friend entered the courtroom, a woman attempted to arrest a man's picture of AJ, but was quickly admonished by Wilbrand and a court clerk.
In addition to charges of AJ's death, every parent is charged with heavy household batteries and heavy batteries – Recorded on Cunningham's cell phone.
READ MORE: AJ's DCFS investigators were overloaded with cases before a boy was killed.
The indictment also contains allegations of reckless behavior, unlawful restraint and alleged endangerment of children occurred between September 20, 2018 and April 17, 2019. The indictment states that the parents AJ "or around let his body beat or allow. The couple is accused of repeatedly putting de Tain (ing) "AJ" in ("Away") for periods of several hours or more as a "violent offender" after the child murder and violent perpetrator
The authorities say that AJ was born with opiates in his system and raised in a home that was the subject of several police calls and visits the Illinois Department of Children and Family Workers.
Sugden called for Wilbrand The lawyers of Cunningham asked to join the motion.
Wilbrandt said that Sugden's petition was too broad, and suggested that the lawyer convert it. Sugden said he calls on the parties involved in the case, including lawyers, police and FBI, not to make any statements outside the court.  "I will not agree to the request in the current form," said Wilbrandt. "I think it's too wide. I want to strike the balance between the rights of the defendant and the rights of the public under the First Amendment. "
Wilbrandt granted Freund's request for a psychological rating and two phone calls. Sugden also said in court that friend does not get some prescriptions in jail.
Friend and Cunningham will return to court on June 18
. Amanda Marrazzo is a freelance reporter.
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