Nikki Entzel sentenced to life for conspiring to kill husband, burn home

Nikki Sue Entzel sentencing graphic
Nikki Sue Entzel sentencing graphic(Station)
Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 3:08 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2023 at 8:41 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Justice Douglas Bahr sentenced 41-year-old Nikki Entzel to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Last fall after a two-week trial and two hours of deliberation a jury found Nikki guilty of conspiring to murder her husband Chad Entzel, burn the couple’s home, and destroy evidence.

Prosecutors said Nikki and a Canadian man named Earl Howard carried out the scheme in an attempt to collect on insurance.

At the sentencing hearing Friday, family and friends of Chad spoke to Nikki. Family members said Nikki stole something that was precious to them, but they’re retaking the power.

“I’ve decided this is no longer a day about you. It is a day about my brother and what a wonderful person he was,” said Chad Entzel’s sister Lori Kraus.

Nikki also spoke... but to Justice Bahr.

“Your Honor, I have been through all kinds of abuse. Now my boys have been through it. I have to live through this every single day,” said Nikki Entzel, defendant.

“I have seen no evidence that Mr. Entzel abused Ms. Entzel. It’s just her proclaimed statements. And those have changed today,” said Justice Bahr.

Nikki’s public defender Thomas Glass said that Nikki should be sentenced similarly to Earl Howard. He asked that Nikki get 50 years with 25 suspended.

“I also think it’s important that none of these issues became prevalent in her life until after she met Mr. Howard,” said Thomas Glass, defense attorney.

“The court notes that in response to Mr. Glass’ assertions that Mr. Howard may have been an important role in this with the crimes. I kind of refute that a bit. She was doing illegal things and blaming other people back in 2012 and 2014,” said Justice Bahr.

Burleigh County State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer argued Nikki deserved life without parole. Lawyer said Nikki never took responsibility for the crimes.

“It’s always someone else’s fault. She blames others for the negative aspects of her life. She believes even though she was convicted of this and other crimes, she’s done nothing wrong,” said Burleigh County State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer.

Justice Bahr sentenced Nikki to life in prison. She must serve at least 85% of her sentence before she’s eligible for parole. That means she must serve at least 36 years and 105 days before she can be released.

After that, she’s also subject to three years probation, and two additional suspended sentences. If she violates parole she would complete an additional 15 years in prison.

The sentencing hearing was one year and three days after a judge sentenced co-conspirator Earl to 25 years in prison for his role in the crimes.