BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — The trial of Nikki Entzel has concluded, and Entzel has been found guilty on all charges as part of a conspiracy to commit murder and arson. With assistance from her lover Earl Howard, Entzel was stated to be responsible for killing her husband Chad. In

Unraveling exactly what happened regarding the murder of Chad Entzel requires a full timeline. When the trial began, this was difficult due to a lack of complete evidence. As the events of the court proceedings unraveled, however, testimonies from officers, security camera footage, and phone readings allowed both members of the jury and the media to get a clear picture of the events leading up to his death.

In the closing arguments made to the jury before deliberation, the prosecuting attorney outlined times and dates referenced through the testimonies of each witness and put together a comprehensive timeline of the days before and after the event. The full footage of this presentation can be found in Hour 6 of Day 6 of the Entzel trial.

A courtroom audio issue may make the video footage difficult for some people to listen to, so KX has compiled the important information from the timeline into text form as well.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

  • Nikki Entzel gets an online quote for renter’s insurance.
  • Nikki calls Homesite Insurance and purchases renter’s insurance as evidenced by Exhibit 34a (Sales call to Homesite Insurance). Receipts from the insurance policies listed the joint account of Earl Howard and Nikki Entzel as the buyer.
  • During the above call, Nikki mentions having matching earrings with her daughter. Nikki does not have a daughter, and this is believed to be referring to Earl’s daughter Cassandra. It is worth noting that previous evidence indicated Nikki had made a purchase of two sets of matching earrings in October. and placed it on Chad and Nikki’s joint account.

Friday, December 27, 2019

  • 12:01 a.m. — Renter’s Insurance policy takes effect.
  • 5:31 p.m. — Nikki travels to Minneapolis on a one-way flight, confirmed with travel receipts, parking stubs, and airport security footage., as evidenced by Exhibits 319 (Orbitz ticket booking email) and 265 (parking stub from the Bismarck Airport). Nikki tells Chad she is at work in text messages and does not inform him she is out of state.
  • 7:05 p.m. — Nikki is scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis, and Earl traveled there as well as evidenced by Exhibit 311 (Nikki and Earl’s joint checking account).

Saturday, December 28, 2019

  • Nikki tells Michelle Mundy she is in Minneapolis with ‘Roy’ (Earl), as evidenced by Exhibit 280 (text messages between Entzel and Mundy).
  • Nikki and Earl shop in Minneapolis before traveling back to Bismarck, as evidenced by Exhibits 280 and 311. Exhibit 307 (record of text messages between Nikki and Chad) indicates she told Chad she was still training at this time.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

  • 1:52 a.m. — Earl checks in at the front desk of Staybridge Suites, depicted in Exhibits 259 (Staybridge surveillance video) and 189 (Staybridge Suites invoice), and cross-referenced with Exhibits 280 and 303 (Photos of Earl Howard).
  • 1:59 a.m — Nikki Entzel and Earl Howard enter Staybridge Suites together, depicted in Exhibit 259.
  • 10:07 a.m — Nikki tells Chad that this is her last day of training, as evidenced by Exhibit 307.
  • 11:17 a.m. —Nikki and Earl leave the hotel, as evidenced by Exhibit 259.
  • 1:00 p.m. — Nikki and Earl go to Bismarck Wal-Mart, as depicted in Exhibit 267 (Wal-Mart Security Footage). Nikki and Earl can be seen kissing in the exhibit. Purchases were made on Nikki and Earl’s joint checking account.
  • 4:08 p.m. — Nikki and Earl pick up a car from the airport and pay with their joint checking account, as evidenced by Exhibits 265 and 311.
  • 4:44 p.m. — Nikki and Earl return from shopping, evidenced by Exhibits 259, 195 (Staybridge Suites key card swipe), and 311.
  • 5:06 p.m. — Nikki sends Earl an online copy of the insurance documents from Progressive
  • 6:00 p.m. — Nikki and Earl leave for Dickinson, and meet Matt Heinz at McDonald’s to drop off presents for Nikki’s sons (evidenced in Exhibits 311 and 259, and Testimonies of Michelle Mundy and Matt Heinz).
  • 10:31 p.m — Chad texts Nikki, informing her he is going to bed.
  • 11: 25 p.m. — Nikki and Earl return to Wal-Mart, as evidenced by Exhibits 267 and 311.
  • 11:58 p.m. — Nikki and Earl return to Staybridge Suites.

Monday, December 30, 2019

  • 7:21 a.m. — Nikki calls Chad, seen in Exhibit 308 (Call Logs of Chad Entzel).
  • 7:28 a.m. — Nikki returns to the Entzel home, as displayed in Exhibits 262 (New Vision Security Video) and 261 (New Vision Security Event Log).
  • Nikki states at this time that she and Chad argue about the furnace and Chad’s drinking problem, as stated by Nikki in Exhibit 70 (first interview with Sgt. Silbernagel). Nikki leaves for work.
  • 7:53 a.m. — Chad leaves for work, as seen in Exhibits 262 and 261.
  • 11:52 a.m. — Nikki leaves work for lunch with Earl, as seen in Exhibit 266 (Community Options Parking Lot Footage).
  • 1:05 p.m. — Nikki returns to work, evidenced by Exhibit 266.
  • 2:23 p.m. — Earl shops at several businesses, including Praxair, where he purchases a torch kit, as evidenced by Exhibit 273 (Praxair Picking Ticket).
  • 3.54 p.m. — Earl returns to the hotel, shown in Exhibit 259.
  • 5:05 p.m. — Nikki leaves work, seen in Exhibit 266.
  • 5:06 p.m. — Chad gets home from work, as seen in Exhibit 262.
  • 5:24 p.m. — Nikki returns to the hotel, shown in Exhibit 259.
  • 5:46 p.m. — Chad leaves for bowling, as seen in Exhibit 262.
  • 5:59 p.m. — Chad arrives at Midway Lanes for bowling, seen in Exhibit 263 (Midway Lanes security footage)
  • 6:38 p.m. — Nikki texts Chad, seen in Exhibit 307, wishing him luck at bowling.
  • 6:47 p.m. — Nikki and Earl leave Staybridge Suites, shown in Exhibit 259.
  • 6:54 p.m. — Nikki and Earl arrive at the Entzel home, shown in Exhibit 262.
  • 8:00 p.m. — Earl takes a laundry basket into his vehicle, confirming items were being removed from the house and shown in Exhibit 262.
  • 8:27 p.m. — Nikki gets into Earl’s truck. Earl briefly re-enters the garage of the Entzel home before leaving with Nikki, as seen in Exhibit 262.
  • 10:06 p.m. — Nikki and Earl arrive back at Staybridge Suites, seen in Exhibits 259 and 209 (Staybridge Suites keycard swipe).
  • 10:22 p.m. — Chad leaves Midway Lanes, seen in Exhibit 263
  • 10:32 p.m. — Earl noted to still be unloading items from the vehicle at Staybridge, seen in Exhibit 259.
  • 10: 5 p.m. — Chad arrives at home (unable to see due to a corrupted video clip).
  • 11:19 p.m. — Exhibit 259 shows Nikki and Earl still unloading the truck and bringing items into the hotel room. This is particularly noted due to Nikki later stating that she lost most if not all property-including clothes- in the fire.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

  • 12:35 a.m. — Nikki Entzel’s login information is used to access the Entzel home’s security system multiple times, shown in Exhibit 260 (Security System Login Records).
  • 1:02 a.m. — Nikki and Earl leave Staybridge Suites, shown in Exhibit 259
  • 1:11 a.m. — The garage door of the Entzel home opens, shown in Exhibit 261.
  • 2:56 a.m. — The garage door of the Entzel home closes, shown in Exhibit 261. Nikki claimed that she was attempting to locate her medicine in between the door’s opening and closing but later changed her story to include loading the dishwasher among other activities.
  • 3:16 a.m. —Nikki enters the hotel, shown in Exhibit 259.
  • 4:16 a.m. — Earl enters the hotel, shown in Exhibit 259.
  • 5:54 a.m. — Nikki’s login information again accesses the Entzel home’s security system, seen in Exhibit 260.
  • 6:27 a.m. — Earl leaves the hotel, seen in Exhibit 259.
  • 6:32 a.m. — The garage door of the Entzel home opens, recorded in Exhibit 261.
  • 6:38 a.m.– The garage door of the Entzel home closes, recorded in Exhibit 261.
  • 7:57 a.m. — Nikki calls Chad in sick to work, shown in Exhibit 304 (Call Log).
  • 7:59 a.m. — Nikki arrives at work, seen in Exhibit 266.
  • 11:52 a.m. — Nikki leaves work, seen in Exhibit 266.
  • Shopping and errands commence, as seen in Exhibit 311. Nikki was seen to have made purchases at CVS Pharmacy using her debit card, and Earl made purchases at Northwest Tire using his.
  • 12:13 p.m. — Either Nikki or Earl reenters the hotel room, shown in Exhibit 216 (Hotel Key Card Swipe).
  • 12:53 p.m. — Nikki returns to work, seen in Exhibit 266.
  • 5:00 p.m. — Nikki leaves work, seen in Exhibit 266.
  • 5:07 p.m. — The hotel room is entered, seen in Exhibit 221 (Hotel Key Card Swipe)
  • 10:59 p.m. — The garage door of the Entzel home opens, recorded in Exhibit 261.
  • 11:15 p.m. — The garage door of the Entzel home closes, recorded in Exhibit 261. Nikki states that this is when the duo went to ensure the fire was starting properly. At some time during the night, she said Earl also entered the home to tamper with the furnace.
  • 11:24 p.m. — The hotel room is entered, seen in Exhibit 224 (Hotel Key Card Swipe)
  • 11:51 p.m. — The hotel room is entered, seen in Exhibit 225 (Hotel Key Card Swipe)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

  • 2:22 p.m. — Nikki and Earl enter Riddle’s Jewelry, seen in Exhibit 268 (Riddles’ surveillance video).
  • 2:25 p.m. — Nikki and Earl leave Riddle’s Jewelry, seen in Exhibit 268.
  • 3:20 p.m. — The hotel room is entered, seen in Exhibit 237 (Hotel Key Card Swipe)
  • 3:55 p.m. — Nikki and Earl enter Riddle’s Jewelry, seen in Exhibit 268. Receipts for jewelry and insurance are discussed as evidenced by Exhibit 122 (Earl’s journal).
  • 4:10 p.m. — Nikki and Earl leave Riddle’s Jewelry, seen in Exhibit 268.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

  • 7:31 a.m. — Nikki calls Earl, seen in Exhibit 304
  • 7:39 a.m. — Nikki arrives at work, seen in Exhibit 266.
  • 7:45 a.m. — Nikki goes into her office, seen in Exhibit 266. This is believed to be because she was on the phone with Earl prior to entering the workplace.
  • 8:59 a.m — Nikki receives seven phone calls from the same unknown number, believed to be from Chad’s co-workers asking about his whereabouts, evidenced by Exhibit 304.
  • 9:14 a.m. — Nikki calls Earl, seen in Exhibit 304.
  • 9:14 a.m.-9:22 a.m. — Nikki receives four more calls from the unknown number.
  • 9:39 a.m. — Nikki leaves work, seen in Exhibit 266.
  • 9:39 a.m. — Nikki calls Earl, seen in Exhibit 304.
  • 9:42 a.m. — Nikki receives two calls from another unknown number, believed to be another one of Chad’s co-workers.
  • 9:43 a.m. — Nikki calls Earl, seen in Exhibit 304.
  • 9:43 a.m. Nikki receives two more calls from the second unknown number, and answers one, stating that she is busy.
  • 10: 45 a.m. — Nikki performs a Google search for the Weigel Funeral Home, as seen in Exhibit 305 (Browser History). It is unknown why this would have occurred if, as Nikki stated, she did not know about Chad’s death until later that day.
  • 1:18 p.m. — Nikki receives another call from the second unknown number.
  • 2:22 p.m. — Nikki calls Chad, seen in Exhibit 304.
  • 3:29 p.m. — Nikki returns to work, seen in Exhibit 266.
  • 5:00 p.m. — Nikki leaves work, seen in Exhibit 266.
  • 5:20 p.m. — Nikki calls 911, claiming that she has just discovered the burned home, evidenced by Exhibit 304.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

  • 11:42 p.m. — Nikki forwards an email to Earl regarding houses for sale.

Monday, January 6/Tuesday, January 7, 2020

  • Over the course of these two days, Nikki Entzel’s phone, which was given to the police, received 25 incoming and outgoing calls. 23 of these calls involved Earl Howard.

A full recap of each day of the Entzel Trial, as well as the verdict, can be found here on KX’s website.

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Final Verdict