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Crystal Lake Woman Pleads Guilty to Murder of Her Son

McHenry County Woman Pleads Guilty in Son’s Murder
Vander Tuuk 12-6-19

(Crystal Lake, IL) A Crystal Lake woman has pleaded guilty to killing her own son. JoAnn Cunningham put in the plea Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder in the beating death of 5-year-old AJ Freund back in April. The guilty plea means the maximum prison term will be capped at 60 years, when Cunningham is sentenced next year. She is due in court for a status hearing on January 30th. The boy’s father, Andrew Freund Sr. is still awaiting trial for the same crime. He will be back in court next Friday.

Park City Murder Update
Vander Tuuk 12-6-19

(Park City, IL) Investigators have revealed a possible motive in a Park City murder. 68-year-old Nancy Wilcox was found stabbed and beaten to death at a home on Tuesday morning. Jeffery Michael Thrall has been charged in her murder. Police say Wilcox was Thrall’s aunt, and the killing was allegedly over a long standing financial dispute. The 60-year-old suspect had been released from jail about 12 hours before the murder. He’s back in the Lake County Jail on a 5-million-dollar bond.

Drug Induced Homicide Plea in October OD
Vander Tuuk 12-6-19

(Waukegan, IL) A Park City man had pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with a fatal overdose earlier this year. Earl Epps is facing one count of drug-induced homicide stemming from the October death of 47-year-old Tara Garcia near Lake Villa. In addition to the homicide charge, Epps is facing counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and witness intimidation. The 41-year-old is currently in the Lake County Jail on a 1-million-dollar bond, and is due back in court in mid-January.

Thanksgiving Enforcement Results (Gurnee, LC Sheriff)
Vander Tuuk 12-6-19

(Gurnee, IL) Gurnee Police and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office have released results from special Thanksgiving holiday enforcement periods. Gurnee Police say during their special detail, they stopped 35 cars, and handed out the most tickets for seatbelt violations. One arrest was also made by Gurnee Police for a DUI. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, meantime, conducted a similar enforcement, writing 135 citations. The highest amount of tickets were for seatbelt, or child safety seat violations. The Sheriff’s Office also says they made five arrests for impaired driving.

Lake County Recorder Asks For Clerk Merger
Vander Tuuk 12-6-19

(Waukegan, IL) Lake County’s Recorder of Deeds has unveiled a proposal to merge her officer with the Lake County Clerk’s Office. Mary Ellen Vanderventer says she would like voters to decide on the merger through a referendum on the ballots in November of 2020. The merger has been proposed at times going back to 2012, and Vanderventer originally opposed the idea. Any chance of the merger, or the referendum going forward would be up to the Lake County Board.

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