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Illinois mother pleads guilty in beating death of 5-year-old

Andrew "AJ" Freund and JoAnn Cunningham.

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (AP) – An Illinois woman charged in the beating death of her 5-year-old son has pleaded guilty to murder.

Thirty-six-year-old JoAnn Cunningham of Crystal Lake entered the plea Thursday in the April slaying of Andrew “AJ” Freund.

The Chicago Tribune reports Cunningham will be sentenced at a later date. She faces 20 to 60 years in prison.

Other charges against her have been dropped. She sat quietly in the courthouse during Thursday’s hearing.

She and the boy’s father, Andrew Freund, were charged with first-degree murder and other crimes after the boy’s body was found buried in a shallow grave in Woodstock.

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