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West Allis mom whose 3 kids died in fire gets 18 years

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

West Allis mom whose 3 kids died in fire gets 18 years

By Jonah Kaplan. CREATED Sep 27, 2013 - UPDATED: Sep 27, 2013

MILWAUKEE - Before several weeping family members and friends, a judge sentenced Angelica Belen to 18 years in prison for child neglect resulting in the death of her three kids - she was given six years for each child.

Belen also faces six years supervision.

The 25-year-old's three children died in a house fire in April, and she later admitted to locking the kids in their room so she could go to work.

Prior to his decision, Judge Jeffrey A. Wagner told Belen she failed in her parental responsibilities and that she played "Russian roulette" with her children. He said he wanted the sentence to be a "wake up call" to parents in the community.

Prosecutors addressed Judge Wagner first and requested three separate sentences, one for each child. They also read through a laundry list of prior allegations put together by Child Protective Services.

Belen's half-sister and cousin followed with their own pleas for a sentence of life in prison.

The defense tried to paint a different picture of Belen, one of a mother who tried to do the best parenting she was capable. Belen's aunt, sister and pastor spoke passionately about her love for her three young children (one child had cerebral palsy and another was autistic).

Belen was last to address the court, and pleaded through wails of years for mercy, indicating her desire to be a public servant and teach parents to make better decisions.

Click below to watch a Web Extra video of Judge Wagner speaking at Belen's sentencing:

Jonah Kaplan

Jonah Kaplan

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Originally from Philadelphia, Jonah Kaplan loves the culture, character and pride of Milwaukee. He's won top awards for his reporting of breaking news and severe weather.