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Guard member says self defense

A National Guardsman charged with fatally stabbing three people he met in a bar acted in self-defense, his attorney said.

Steven Scott Coleman's public defender, Pat Nally, said Friday his client will plead innocent Oct. 13 when he is arraigned.

Nally said there is reason to believe one victim, 20-year-old Ronald Quisbert, had a knife under the driver's seat of the car in which the slayings occurred. The knife used by Coleman was not his, Nally said.

Coleman, 24, told investigators he was attacked by Quisbert, Regina Rodriguez, 15, and Andrew McGinnis, 22, after their car pulled into a Florida International University parking lot, Nally and police said.

Rodriguez and McGinnis had been sexually assaulted, probably after their deaths, investigators say.

"We don't know that Steven Coleman is guilty," Nally said. "We believe he acted in self-defense, and if he acted in self-defense, then he's not guilty of anything, is he?"

Police elsewhere say they aren't taking any chances.

"We are definitely looking into this up here," said Deputy Chief Curtis Lane in Tampa, where Coleman lives. "We were very concerned when we heard how he had killed these kids and that he was a resident here.

"I can't name any specific cases, but I do know we've got some to look at."

Detectives in Coleman's hometown of the Bronx in New York City have asked for his fingerprints. They have two unsolved stabbing deaths in his old neighborhood. But they aren't sure the killings are related to each other, let alone Coleman.

"We're still trying to find out if any incidents are connected," Detective Kim Royster said.

FIU is near the National Guard camp where Coleman's unit had been unloading hurricane relief supplies.

The victims met Coleman at a bar near the camp early Tuesday, homicide Cmdr. Wayne McCarthy said. They agreed to go with him to another bar across town and drive him back to the camp, then they got into a fight, police said.

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