Man accused of Des Moines triple-homicide to claim self defense

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A Guatemalan man believed to be in the U.S. illegally has told an Iowa judge that he shot a woman in self-defense after she killed her two children.

The Des Moines Register reports that 31-year-old Marvin Oswaldo Escobar-Orellana asked the judge during an initial court appearance in Des Moines on Thursday why he's charged with killing 29-year-old Rossibeth Flores-Rodriguez, her 11-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, when he only killed the mother and in self-defense.

Police, though, say an unidentified witness told investigators that Escobar-Orellana shot Flores-Rodriguez during an argument Tuesday before going inside the family's condo and shooting the children. Police also say ballistic evidence supports the witness' account.

Judge Becky Goettsch set Escobar-Orellana's bond at $3 million cash and assigned the case to the public defender's office.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official says Escobar-Orellana was deported in 2010 and 2011, and that ICE has filed an immigration detainer and administrative arrest warrant for him.