McALESTER, Oklahoma — A convicted child killer serving a life sentence for a 1997 cold case slaying of an 8-year-old girl was strangled to death in prison by his cellmate, authorities said.
Anthony Palma, 59, died from “ligature strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head,” according to a report released by the Oklahoma state medical examiner’s office.
Palma was found lying in a pool of blood in his cell at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary during a routine security check on Jan. 11 and could not be revived.
His cellmate, Raymond Pillado, 35, was also serving a life sentence for first-degree murder for killing three people.
Palma was convicted in 2017 of the murder of 8-year-old Kirsten Hatfield, who was abducted from her Midwest City home in 1997. Her killing had remained unsolved for two decades until DNa evidence linked Palma to the case.
He had lived two doors down from the Hatfield family and was arrested for the murder in 2015 after investigators reexamined some of the evidence from the cold case and he matched DNA recovered from blood found on the girl’s bedroom window and her underwear.
The girl’s body was never recovered.
Authorities told KFOR-TV that they had plans to interviewing Palma later this year in the hopes of extracting information that could lead them to her body.
‘We’ve not had closure on this case and we may never have closure because we wanted to find her body and bring her home,’ said Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes.