Nikki Sue Entzel verdict: guilty

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 5:21 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - After two hours of deliberation, a jury found Nikki Sue Entzel guilty of conspiring to murder her husband Chad, conspiring to commit arson at the couple’s home, and conspiring to tamper with evidence.

Over the past two weeks prosecutors worked to show that Nikki was involved in the planning of her husband’s murder.

They called a number of investigators to testify as to what they found at the crime scene.

They said Chad Entzel had been shot twice and two non-accidental fires had been lit at the home. They said surveillance video showed Nikki and Earl Howard, a man whom prosecutors say was in a relationship with Nikki, coming and going from the home just before the crime and, at the time of the murder, surveillance video was shut off by someone using Nikki’s log in.

They also showed video from police interviews with Nikki as she changed her story. Investigators say Nikki tried to collect on insurance policies that she had opened just before the murder.

Throughout the investigation, Nikki had told police her husband was abusive when he drank. She showed investigators and friends photos of bruises she said she had gotten from her husband, and she said Earl Howard had learned of the abuse and killed Chad. She said she played no role.

Nikki had no expression when the verdict came in.

The family of the victim cried when the verdict was read.

Bahr ordered a presentence investigation be completed before he sentences Nikki. Nikki has the right to appeal within 30 days.

Earl Howard pleaded guilty to a role in the crimes earlier this year. He is serving a 25-year sentence.