Couple charged in death of Bismarck man plead not guilty

February 29, 2020 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two people charged in the January death of a Bismarck man have pleaded not guilty.

The Bismarck Tribune reports Earl Howard, 41, and Nikki Entzel, 38, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges filed against them in the death of Chad Entzel, 42. His body was found Jan. 2 after authorities responded to a call of a fire at a northeast Bismarck home. Chad Entzel’s body was in the early stages of decomposition. An autopsy showed he died of gunshot wounds.

Howard is charged with murder, arson, and three counts of conspiracy.

Entzel is charged with three counts of conspiracy in her husband’s death. Each faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

The two suspects appeared as co-defendants at Friday’s preliminary hearing.

A sheriff’s deputy testified they started planning Chad Entzel’s demise a month before it happened, in an apparent love triangle with plans to cash in on a life insurance policy.

Howard is being held on $1 million bail. Nikki Entzel is in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.