Friday, December 8, 2023
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Defense Teams Take a Break in Trial of Two Former DCFS Workers Linked to the Tragic 2019 Passing of 5-Year-Old AJ Freund

MCHENRY COUNTY, Unwell. — The trial for 2 former Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) staff accused of kid endangerment entered its fifth day Friday after the prosecution rested their case Thursday afternoon.

Court was only in session for about half-hour as each defendants selected to not testify, and their respective attorneys then rested their cases without calling any witnesses. Judge George Strickland then scheduled a Tuesday virtual meeting to set the deadline for any remaining submissions of evidence and the date to hearing closing arguments. He stated he expected that date to be inside the first two weeks of October.

Charges were filed against the pair in Sept. 2020, stemming from the April 2019 death of five-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund of Crystal Lake. Andrew Polovin and Carlos Acosta are accused of getting known the kid’s life was at risk 4 months earlier, yet not taking the proper steps to make sure the situation didn’t worsen.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors have maintained that caseworkers must have taken motion after they received information in Dec. 2018 from police, who called the DCFS hotline regarding a bruise on AJ’s hip. While the kid and his mother blamed the bruise on being pawed by a dog, the kid also told a health care provider, “perhaps someone hit me with a belt. Perhaps mommy didn’t mean to harm me.”

If attorneys for either defendant decide to call witnesses, including the defendants themselves, their opportunity to achieve this begins today.

The bench trial began on Monday with the McHenry County State’s Attorney providing a gap statement for the prosecution, and separate attorneys providing statements for every of the defendants. It is anticipated to take about every week.

JoAnn Cunningham pleaded guilty to her murder charge and was sentenced to 35 years. His father, Andrew Freund, pleaded guilty to an assortment of charges and was sentenced to 30 years.

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