Surveillance video shown to jury in murder-arson conspiracy trial

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 5:26 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Week one of the Nikki Sue Entzel trial has wrapped up. The jury saw hours of surveillance video as the state continued to build out their case. They’re working to show that Nikki played a role in planning the murder of her husband and the burning of the couple’s home to collect on insurance.

Chad Entzel’s family watched as his final hours played out for the jury.

“When was the last time you saw him?” asked state’s attorney Julie Lawyer. “The day he left the bowling alley,” said Darin Helbling from Midway Lanes.

Julie Lawyer showed the jury videos from the days leading up to the crime.

“Did they ask you to pull video and/or key card information for Nikki Entzel and Earl Howard?” asked Julie Lawyer. “Yes, they did,” stated Janet Leiss from Staybridge Suites.

The video appeared to show Nikki and Earl moving things from Nikki’s home to the hotel. A video from Walmart appeared to show the pair kissing.

Video from the day after the murder and before the body was found appeared to show Nikki and Earl in a Bismarck jewelry store.

“They came in two different times, the first time I didn’t help them. But they came back, and they were asking for some of the receipts from previous history,” said Rick Krefting, Riddle’s Jewelry Store.

Defense attorney Thomas Glass pushed back on time stamps displayed on several videos.

“They should be synched, yes, with the door lock and key encoder,” said Leiss. “But did you verify that?” asked Glass. “No, I did not,” responded Leiss.

Multiple people also testified that Nikki had called them to service the home’s furnace in the days before the crime, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.

“Thermostat said 72. Went out into the kitchen, told Nikki the furnace was working fine in the moment, or this time frame I was there,” said Rob Sattler, property owner.

Investigators said a non-accidental fire was started near the furnace after the murder.

The state hopes this evidence will show Nikki helped plan the crime. However, in initial police interviews, Nikki had stated her husband was abusive, Earl knew of the abuse and committed the crime, and she did not play a role. She has not yet made any comments in court.

Earl Howard is on the state’s witness list and could testify against Nikki next week.