Convicted child killer Anthony Palma was in prison for a little more than a year before he was killed by his cellmate at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma.
Palma was sentenced to life without parole in October 2017 after a jury found him guilty of murdering 8-year-old Kirsten Hatfield, who was reported missing from her Midwest City home in May 1997.
Midwest City police Chief Brandon Clabes said he was alerted of Palma’s death Saturday night. He’s been in contact members of Hatfield’s family, who have mixed feelings about the news.
“From a moral compass, you want to say the politically correct thing, but it obviously geared up a bunch of emotions on my part,” Clabes said.
Clabes was one of the responding officers the night Hatfield was reported missing.
“Anthony Palma creeped into Shannon’s house, kidnapped Hatfield, murdered her, disposed of her body, then lived two doors down many, many years without a conscience,” Clabes said.
“We were shocked. We were thrilled and also heartbroken,” Clabes said. “We’re heartbroken by the fact we may never know where Kirsten’s been buried or what happened to her body.”
Clabes said he’s talked to Hatfield’s mother, Shannon Hazen, who is still shaken up, trying to process everything that’s happened.
“I can’t imagine losing your child the way she lost Kirsten, and then to find out the murderer has now been murdered himself and we still haven’t found the body,” Clabes said. “My heart goes out to that family and everyone else involved, because there is no closure. It’s still wide open for us.”