Court delays decision on demolition of AJ's Crystal Lake home
The status of the deteriorating, boarded up Crystal Lake house where authorities say AJ Freund was murdered by his parents will remain unchanged until at least late November.
A McHenry County judge presiding over Crystal Lake's legal efforts to demolish the home at 94 Dole Ave. on Wednesday gave defendants in the case, including AJ's parents Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham, until Nov. 27 to respond to the city's complaint.
That date follows a planned foreclosure sale Nov. 21, which was granted in a separate court action and provides another twist in the eventual disposition of the home in a quiet residential neighborhood.
"There's a lot of 'What ifs?' in the air about who buys it and what would be next in the demolition case," said Jonathan Kaman, a Crystal Lake attorney. He represents William Progar, a real estate investor who holds the mortgage on the house and is one of 10 defendants in the city's case.
David Goles, an attorney for Crystal Lake, said the city hopes to have a resolution by the end of the year.
"They want to move forward on the demolition complaint," Goles said, adding that the city would try to recover the demolition costs from the defendants.
Andrew Freund Sr., who has owned the home for many years, and Cunningham, who lived there with Freund, appeared Wednesday in Associate Judge Kevin Costello's courtroom for a hearing on the city's request to have the house declared a public nuisance and torn down. Both are charged with first-degree murder and other offenses involving their 5-year-old son's death in April and are being held in the McHenry County jail on $5 million bail.
All of the defendants in the public nuisance case, except Edin Mehanovic of McHenry, who was unavailable, were served with notice of the city's intent to demolish the home. However, none replied and the city filed a motion to find them in default and keep the court action moving. Costello gave the defendants until Nov. 27 to answer.
Freund, a recently disbarred attorney, said Wednesday he is considering filing a response, but doesn't have access to a computer for mandatory electronic filing. Costello agreed to waive that requirement for him.
The 60-year-old Freund and Cunningham, 36, are charged with killing AJ April 15 after the boy was forced to endure a cold shower.
His body was discovered April 24 in a shallow grave near Woodstock, six days after his parents reported him missing from their Crystal Lake home.