Anthony Joseph Palma found dead in his cell at Oklahoma State Penitentiary
A pedophile, who was convicted of raping and murdering an 8-year-old girl, has been found dead in his prison cell after allegedly being killed by his cellmate on Friday.
59-year-old Anthony Joseph Palma was found in his cell by a corrections officer during a regularly scheduled security check at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary around 7.30pm and could not be revived.
Authorities believe he was killed by his cellmate who is serving a sentence for first-degree murder.
Medical staff attempted to revive Palma but were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead, according to reports.
Authorities have yet to release details on how Palma died, or the name of the inmate they believe killed him.
Palma was serving life in prison without parole for the 1997 murder of eight-year-old Kirsten Renee Hatfield in Midwest City, Oklahoma, a crime which he was only arrested for in 2015.
According to the Oklahoman, the body of his young victim has never been found.
Palma died 13 months after he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Kirsten Hatfield, reports the Daily Mail.
According to The Charley Project, Kirsten disappeared in May 1997. She was last seen at her home on the 1100 block of Jet Drive in Midwest City, Oklahoma.
Her mother, Shannon Hazen, said she put her daughter to bed around 11.30am and when she checked in again between 6 am and 6.30am, Kirsten was missing.
Blood was discovered on the bedroom windowsill and Kirsten’s underwear was found in the backyard.
Her body has never been found.
Prosecutors say, Palma, who lived two doors down from the home, abducted and sexually assaulted Kirsten before murdering her, reported The Oklahoman.
In October 2015, Palma was arrested after new testing found his DNA on Kirsten’s bedroom windowsill and on her underwear.
The Charley Project says Palma knew Kirsten because, at the time of her death, he was dating her older sister.
Palma insisted he was at home on the night of Kirsten’s disappearance when he was questioned back in 1997 and in 2015 and had maintained his innocence.
One month after he was arrested, he unsuccessfully attempted suicide by slitting his wrists, news reports said.
This was not Palma’s first run-in with the law.
His former landlady accused him of drugging and molesting her in 1982 in Walters, Oklahoma, reported News 9.
And in a case similar to Hatfield’s, Palma allegedly assaulted a young girl in 1979 or 1980, also in Walters.
According to prosecutors, he sneaked into the girl’s bedroom in the middle of the night.
He was never charged.