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