Colombian priests hire hitmen to kill themselves

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BOGOTA, Colombia — Rev. Rafael Reatiga asked his parishioners to pray for him and gave the choirmaster a list of songs for his funeral just before he was found shot to death together with another Roman Catholic priest, a Colombian prosecutor said Tuesday.

Authorities initially suspected robbery when Reatiga's body was found along with that of Rev. Richard Piffano, 37, in a car in southern Bogota on Jan. 27, 2011.

But on Tuesday prosecutor Ana Patricia Larrota said investigators had determined that it was suicide by hitmen: the two priests hired gunmen to kill them after Reatiga discovered he had AIDS.

The prosecution's chief investigator Maritza Gonzalez said the two priests had originally planned to throw themselves off a cliff into a canyon north of Bogota but apparently lacked the nerve.

Printed on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 as: Bizarre murder-suicide leaves two Colombian priests dead