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updated: 4/25/2013 7:48 AM

Wis. mom likely to plead not guilty in fire deaths

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Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee-area woman who lost three of her four children in a fire this month after she left them alone in a locked bedroom is expected to plead not guilty to charges of felony child neglect.

Twenty-four-year-old Angelica D. Belen of West Allis has a preliminary hearing set for Thursday morning. She's accused of leaving her 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old twin sons locked at home while she went to work.

Defense attorney Reyna Morales says Belen will plead not guilty. Morales says a not-guilty plea is standard at this stage in a felony case because it allows the legal process to move forward.

Belen also faces six misdemeanor counts of child neglect. Those charges stem from allegations that she left the twins and a 1-year-old son unattended twice last month.

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