Seeking Justice for a Tragic Crime

In prisons across the country, inmates are known to hold deep disdain for individuals who commit crimes against innocent children. It’s not hard to understand why. These criminals have targeted individuals who are not only smaller in size but also more vulnerable and innocent than they are. They have forever changed lives through their heinous acts. Unsurprisingly, other prisoners are not inclined to show any sympathy towards such offenders. And in some cases, inmates decide to take matters of justice into their own hands.

One such incident took place in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Anthony Palma, a 59-year-old inmate, met a violent and brutal end at the hands of his cellmate, Raymond Pillado. The incident occurred on January 11, unleashing shockwaves throughout the prison walls.

When Palma’s lifeless body was discovered in his cell, it was immediately removed and taken for examination. The medical examiner determined that he had died as a result of “ligature strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head.”

Two years prior, Palma had been sentenced to life in prison for a cold-case murder dating back to 1997. The case involved the disappearance of a beautiful eight-year-old girl, whose body was never found. For years, her family had agonized over her vanishing, fearing the worst until the police apprehended Palma and tied him to the crime.

Palma’s cellmate, Pillado, is a 35-year-old serving multiple life sentences for murder and shooting with intent to kill. He has a history of committing various other crimes as well.

Last month, news of Palma’s death emerged, though officials initially kept the cause hidden. Taking someone’s life in prison, even if they are a criminal, is still considered murder. However, the Department of Corrections has revealed that Palma was likely killed in retaliation for his unthinkable crime against the innocent eight-year-old girl.

“Those who are serving time for victimizing children are definitely more vulnerable,” explained Matt Elliott, spokesperson for the Department of Corrections.

Palma was found guilty of killing Kirsten Hatfield, who lived just two doors down from him. DNA testing conclusively linked Palma to her disappearance. He was then convicted of kidnapping the girl, sexually assaulting her, and ultimately taking her life to eliminate any evidence.

Earlier this year, authorities expressed hope that Palma would finally disclose the location of Kirsten’s remains during an interview. The purpose was to bring her home and provide closure for her grief-stricken family.

“We’ve yet to find closure in this case, and it’s entirely possible that we may never find closure through discovering her body and bringing her home,” said Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes. “We always hold onto the hope that in cases like this, the individual may develop a conscience, find solace through divine intervention, or perhaps divine intervention from God, and come forward with the exact details of what happened to her.”

Although Kirsten’s killer has now met his own demise, her mother, Shannon Hazen, refuses to give up hope. While she understands that closure may forever elude her, she remains determined to seek answers.

The family of this little girl has endured unimaginable pain and suffering ever since her disappearance. Now, they can find some measure of solace in knowing that her killer will never have the opportunity to harm other children.