As evidence mounts against the parents of AJ Freund, the media frenzy around the case casts a shadow over the possibility that the Freunds will get a fair trial. According to police, the boy’s father Drew Freund told police that he “beat” the boy and administered cold showers as punishment. The police also indicated the father led investigators to the boy’s body in a remote location in Woodstock.
Physical evidence against the father continues to pile up. This includes a shovel, soil samples linking the shovel to the burial site, muddy shoes that could link the father to the burial site, and a search he performed on his phone concerning how to perform CPR on a child.
Police Have Begun Trying This Case in the Press
Thus far, the police have leaked a number of pieces of evidence that, if true, would appear to be every bit as incriminating as they claim. However, a shovel with dirt on it is a fairly typical thing to find in a garage. In fact, most shovels would have dirt on them. Muddy boots in and of themselves indicate nothing. Forensics will need to make a compelling case that the mud on the shovel and the boots has whatever soil markers are specific to the area in which the boy was found buried. But much of that evidence will be over the jury’s head.
The more damning evidence involves the suspect’s own statement that he beat and physically punished the boy. Coupled with evidence of a phone search indicating that he needed to know how to resuscitate him will sway a jury much more effectively than mud evidence. However, if CPR evidence is to be used, it may suggest that the Freunds are not guilty of premeditated murder at all but voluntary manslaughter.
What Evidence Will be Admissible?
Taken as a whole, this evidence looks bad for the Freunds. However, the statement that Freund made to the police may be quashed in court. On the other hand, that evidence has already been leaked to the media, which may have been the point. Even if the evidence is not admissible in court, it is doubtful that the court will be able to find a roomful of jurors who have not heard about the self-incriminating statements.
Assuming that the police did illegally elicit that statement, then they still have the mud evidence and the Google search query concerning CPR on a child. The mud evidence could prove damning if esoteric to the jury. They will hear forensic scientists for the prosecution claim that the soil on the shovel and boots match markers at the burial site. Meanwhile, the defense can bring evidence that the soil markers are ambiguous at best or that the data has been misinterpreted for the purpose of serving the prosecution’s agenda.
In this case, the prosecution could get the mother to turn on her husband in order to protect herself by offering her a plea.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing serious criminal charges in the Chicago area, David Freidberg, Attorney at Law, can defend you from sloppy prosecution, illegally acquired evidence, suspect witnesses, and more. Talk to us today at (312) 560-7100 or contact us online and we can begin preparing your defense today.