Death in prison

An­thony Palma, con­victed of mur­der­ing a Mid­west City girl, was killed by an­other in­mate.

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - BY NOLAN CLAY Staff Writer [email protected]­la­

In a fi­nal foot­note to an in­fa­mous cold case, con­victed mur­derer An­thony Joseph Palma was killed Fri­day night, 13 months after he was sent to prison for a girl’s death.

The body of his vic­tim, Kirsten Re­nee Hat­field, has never been found. She was 8 when she van­ished from her home in Mid­west City in 1997.

The Ok­la­homa Cor­rec­tions Depart­ment re­ported Satur­day in a news re­lease it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing a homi­cide at the Ok­la­homa State Pen­i­ten­tiary.

Au­thor­i­ties did not im­me­di­ately dis­close who was killed or say how he died. Mul­ti­ple sources told The Ok­la­homan it was Palma. The Cor­rec­tions Depart­ment con­firmed his iden­tity Satur­day night. He was 59.

A cor­rec­tional of­fi­cer do­ing a rou­tine se­cu­rity check found the male un­re­spon­sive in his cell about 7:30 p.m. Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to the news re­lease. Med­i­cal staff could not re­vive the in­mate, and a doc­tor pro­nounced him dead at 8:55 p.m.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors sus­pect his cell­mate is re­spon­si­ble. The cell­mate also was not iden­ti­fied. Both were in prison for first­de­gree mur­der, ac­cord­ing to the news re­lease.

Palma was con­victed at trial in Ok­la­homa County Dis­trict Court in 2017. He was sen­tenced to life in prison with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role. He did not ap­peal.

Pros­e­cu­tors al­leged Palma snatched Kirsten from her home after she went to bed May 13, 1997, to sex­u­ally as­sault her.

Palma was ar­rested in Oc­to­ber 2015 after new DNA test­ing con­nected him to blood found on the girl’s bed­room win­dowsill and on her un­der­wear, which was dis­cov­ered in her back­yard.

Palma lived two doors down from the vic­tim in 1997 and hadn’t moved.

At the time of his ar­rest, Palma worked as a groundskeeper at Lake Thun­der­bird State Park.

An­thony Joseph Palma

KirstenRe­nee Hat­field

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