Minn. Man Pleads Guilty to Strangling Wife, Reporting Her Missing Because She Wanted to Leave Him
Maria Pew Weimelt's family is raising awareness about domestic violence
A Minnesota man who strangled his wife before reporting her missing to authorities has pleaded guilty.
On Friday, Joshua David Fury pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the April 30 murder of his wife, Maria Pew Weimelt, according to a statement released by her family on Facebook.
"There are no winners in the horrible death of our dear angel, Maria. A sentence of 4 million months does not bring Maria back to us. So, we choose to be who Maria wants us to be....... kind, loving and inspired to use our pain to end domestic violence," the statement reads.
Court documents filed Tuesday confirm that Fury admitted to strangling Pew Weimelt following an argument at their Maple Grove home before hiding her body in a crawl space under the home before faking her disappearance, KARE11, WCCO, and KSTP report.
Fury initially told police his wife went missing after going for a walk. Police then searched the couple's home but found nothing out of the ordinary.
Family members told investigators that Pew Weimelt had planned to leave her husband and that Fury was “controlling and possessive," according to a criminal complaint obtained the Star Tribune.
During a second search of the home, investigators located Pew Weimelt's body buried in a crawlspace on the lower level. She had a plastic bag duct-taped around her mouth and nose.
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In exchange for the deal, Fury is expected to be sentenced to 38 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 31.
Since Pew Weimelt's death, her family has used social media to raise awareness about domestic violence.
“Maria is one of 15 intimate partner murders in MN already this year. 15. That just has to end. Those murders left thousands of families, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, first responders and caring communities of people violated and traumatized. This needs to stop," the family wrote on a Facebook page called Maria's Voice, which is dedicated to their loved one.
The post continues: "Let’s use our Voice with Maria’s to make sure a home is a place of safety and love, not secreted in violence. We need your help to end this national pandemic. Please follow and like us on Facebook— Maria’s Voice — Our actions must change this acceptability of violence toward intimate partners."
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.