Both suspects involved in a murder-arson case pleaded not guilty in a preliminary hearing Friday afternoon.
Thirty-eight-year-old Nikki Sue Entzel is charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Arson and Conspiracy to Tamper with physical evidence.
Co-defendant Earl Roy Howard is being held on the same charges, along with murder and arson, in the shooting death of Nikki Sue’s husband, 42-year-old Chad Entzel.
The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Investigator leading the case testified on Friday. He told attorneys that based on Nikki Sue’s interviews with law enforcement, evidence found at the scene, video surveillance from outside the home and surveillance sensors from her phone, he believes the murder happened sometime between 1:11 and 2:56 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 31, with both Nikki Sue and Howard present at the home.
The investigator also shared that Nikki Sue’s story changed throughout her two interviews with law enforcement, as they challenged her. But, the investigator said, consistently she concluded that it was Howard who pulled the trigger and started the fire.
Howard’s lawyers argued there is no physical evidence that puts the gun in his hand.
A jury trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 10 this year.