A Maple Grove man has pleaded guilty to killing his wife, burying her in a crawl space under their home and reporting her missing.

Joshua D. Fury, 29, entered his plea Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court to intentional second-degree murder in connection with the suffocation of 28-year-old Maria Fury in late April in their home in the 11000 block of Red Fox Drive.

Maria Fury's death came in the midst of them arguing about her leaving him and about the coronavirus pandemic, according to the County Attorney's Office.

As part of his admission "to the [torturous] and inhumane manner in which he killed his wife ... and due to the violent nature of the murder," Fury is expected to receive a 38-year sentence, the County Attorney's Office said in a statement. That is 12½ years longer than spelled out by state sentencing guidelines.

With credit for time in jail since his arrest, and if the plea agreement is accepted during sentencing on July 31, Joshua Fury will serve roughly 25 years in prison and the balance on supervised release.

He said at his plea hearing Tuesday that he grabbed his wife's neck during an argument and choked her until her neck snapped. He then put a plastic bag over her head and taped it shut.

Joshua Fury dug a 3-foot-deep hole in the basement and buried her there before filing a missing person's report.

Police learned the two had marital problems that only worsened after the state imposed its stay-at-home order early this spring in response to the pandemic, the County Attorney's Office said.

"They had been arguing about COVID-19 in the days leading up to her death," the office statement continued. The criminal complaint said Maria Fury was intending to leave her husband.

Police searched the home and found Maria Fury's body about 1:30 a.m. on May 2.

Officers used a system of buckets and tarps over hours to exhume her body, which had been buried in a lower-level crawl space with a dirt floor, the complaint said.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482