AP NEWS

Inmate convicted in child’s death killed in Oklahoma prison

January 14, 2019
This undated handout photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Anthony Palma. Oklahoma officials say Palma, convicted of murder in the 1997 disappearance of his 8-year-old neighbor, was found unresponsive in his cell Jan. 11 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary and that investigators believe Palma's cellmate killed him. Palma was serving a life sentence for the presumed death of Kirsten Hatfield, who prosecutors say was kidnapped from her Midwest City home. (Midwest City Police Department via AP)

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma officials say a man convicted of murder in the 1997 disappearance of his 8-year-old neighbor has been killed in prison.

The Oklahoma Department of Correction says Anthony Palma was found unresponsive in his cell late Friday. Investigators believe his cellmate killed him.

Palma was serving a life sentence for the presumed death of Kirsten Hatfield. The girl was kidnapped from her home in the Oklahoma City suburb of Midwest City. Her body was never found.

Palma was convicted 20 years after Kirsten’s disappearance. He was arrested after new DNA testing linked him to blood found on her bedroom windowsill.

Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes tells TV station KWTV that Palma “probably met his justice” but that authorities had hoped Palma would one day lead them to Kirsten’s body.