2 Weeks Before Mom Beat 5-Year-Old Son To Death, He Threatened Her

The 5-year-old Illinois boy, Andrew "AJ" Freund, was beaten to death by his mother, JoAnn Cunningham, after enduring years of physical and emotional abuse. The child's father, Andrew Freund Sr, led authorities to AJ's body in a shallow grave not far from their home. During Cunningham's sentencing hearing, a tape of a family argument between her and AJ revealed the nightmare he endured. Two months before his death, video footage captured him covered in bruises while lying naked on a mattress as Cunningham berated him for wetting his bed. Cunningham pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, and Freund pleaded not guilty, blaming much of the physical abuse on her. Cunningham had a history with child protective authorities, but despite repeated visits, nothing was done to save AJ.

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