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Mom pleads not guilty in 3 kids’ fire deaths

Angelica D. Belen (AP Photo/Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — 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 has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony child neglect.

According to online court records, 24-year-old Angelica D. Belen of West Allis waived her preliminary hearing 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 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.

She’s being held on $500,000 cash bail.

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