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Judge denies lower bond for Bismarck homicide suspect

Judge denies lower bond for Bismarck homicide suspect

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A judge has denied a request to lower the bond for one of two people charged in the January death of a Bismarck man.

South Central District Judge Douglas Bahr in an order filed Tuesday said electronic monitoring would not assure that Earl Howard, 42, of Belwood, Ontario, Canada, would be at future court dates.

Howard is charged with murder, arson and three conspiracy counts in the death of Chad Entzel, 42, who an autopsy showed died of gunshot wounds. Entzel’s body was found Jan. 2 when authorities were called to a house fire northeast of Bismarck. Howard was arrested Jan. 9 after turning himself in at the border of Ontario and Michigan.

Howard’s attorney, Rick Sand, on Sept. 3 asked Bahr to reduce Howard’s $1 million bail to $150,000 cash or surety bond, mainly because the lengthy legal process has caused Howard to remain in jail for a long period of time.

In denying the request, Bahr said Howard has no meaningful ties to North Dakota, has family in Canada and went there after the alleged incidents. Evidence at Howard’s preliminary hearing also showed he was planning to move to Texas, the judge said.

Howard and Nikkisue Entzel, Chad Entzel’s wife, are accused of plotting Chad Entzel’s death in an apparent love triangle and with plans to cash in on a life insurance policy. Entzel faces three conspiracy counts. She and Howard are scheduled for trial in late December.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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