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Midwest City man to spend life in prison for murder of 8-year-old

OKLAHOMA CITY - Anthony Palma’s fate was handed down to him in front of a judge Monday morning.

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the 1997 murder and kidnapping of 8-year-old Kirsten Hatfield.

However, closure is far from over in the case.

“I'm hopeful that something would touch Mr. Palma's heart that will give him the opportunity to tell everyone where Kirsten is,” said District Attorney David Prater.

Palma’s appearance was different from his conviction back in October. He’s now bald and donning the signature orange jail uniform.

He waived his right to appeal, while Hatfield’s family holds tight to their right to forgive.

“I've actually come to a position of forgiveness over eight years ago with the nameless faces of the abductor, so we were already in a position of forgiveness at the time of his arrest,” said Shannon Hazen, Hatfield’s mother.

Palma was a neighbor of the Hatfield’s. DNA evidence connected Palma to the case, although the little girl's body has never been recovered.

Hazen said the decision brings some relief to her and the family.

“Obviously, really good resolute, thankful, absolutely thankful,” she said.

However, the family prays to someday be able to bury Hatfield.

“I just hope, in that isolation and where he's at right now and maybe even his love for his own family and daughter, that he'll focus on that love for his daughter and realize that we have that for my sister. And, I hope that will bring him to a place of telling us, so we can lay her to rest,” said Faith Daniels, Hatfield’s younger sister.

Palma told the judge he was ready to transfer to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections immediately.