The family of a Maple Grove woman who was allegedly murdered several days ago by her husband because she planned to leave him said her death won’t be in vain.
Lissa Weimelt stood outside the Hennepin County jail Wednesday after attending the first court appearance for the man charged with killing her daughter, Maria Fury, and urged others to donate to an organization that combats domestic violence.
She referred to her 28-year-old daughter — her only child — by her unmarried name, Maria Pew.
“You can do something,” Weimelt said. “We can all do something to help another family from standing where we are right now. You can help stop domestic violence.”
Joshua Fury, 28, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder with intent for allegedly strangling Maria during an argument about her intention to leave him, burying her body in a crawl space under their home and reporting her missing to police.
Maria loved her family, her dog and wakeboarding, Weimelt said.
“Maria lived just a really positive life,” she said. “She’s happy, sweet, helpful, kind — a really loving person.”
Fury appeared in court Wednesday wearing a protective green vest. He did not appear to have a shirt on underneath and was not wearing the standard-issue orange jumpsuit.
Fury’s attorney, Joe Tamburino, declined to say why his client was wearing the vest.
Charging documents said Fury suffers from depression, had threatened to kill himself if his wife left him and attempted suicide after killing her.
Senior Hennepin County Attorney Judith Cole requested $2 million bail without conditions and $1.5 million bail if Fury would agree to supervision, refrain from contacting Maria’s family and surrender his passport, among other conditions.
Cole told Hennepin County District Judge Tamara Garcia that Fury was a flight risk because he had traveled extensively and had such a “significant amount of cash” that he had planned to buy the couple’s home in cash.
Hennepin County property records show Joshua and Maria Fury bought the home in June 2019 for $245,722.
“He hid the body and then tried to say that someone else must have taken her,” Cole said.
According to court documents: Fury reported Maria missing to police on April 30, saying she had gone for a walk and never returned.
Police searched for her that night with the aid of a helicopter. A larger search was conducted May 1.
Police found Maria’s body in a dirt crawl space 3 to 4 feet tall on May 2 with the help of human recovery dogs. Her family and friends had told them that Fury was controlling and possessive.
After he was arrested, Fury allegedly confessed to squeezing Maria’s neck, duct taping a plastic bag over her face and burying her under their home, the charges said.
Tamburino told the court he would not argue about the bail proposal and that Fury’s family would surrender his passport.
Bail was set at $2 million.
A woman and man and two younger men appeared in court on Fury’s behalf; they declined to comment afterward.
Maria’s family said they want to prevent the same thing from happening to someone else.
“We’re going to honor her legacy and make a difference for another family,” Maria’s cousin, Sarah Silva, said afterward.
With her husband, Bill Pew, Silva and three other relatives at her side, Weimelt urged people to donate to Maria’s Voice, a fundraiser they created for Cornerstone, an organization that works on domestic violence issues.
The effort had raised more than $10,000 by late afternoon Wednesday.
“Maria’s just an amazing girl,” Weimelt said, adding that her death was “gut-wrenching.”
She thanked the Maple Grove community for helping search for Maria and for supporting her family, and the Maple Grove police for their work.
“We really feel your love, and so does Maria, so thank you,” Weimelt said, her voice cracking. “… Remember that this is about love. This is about spreading love. This is about keeping love in our hearts and keeping the love for Maria going.”