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Colombian priests hire hitmen to kill them

El Tiempo via EPA

Priests Rafael Reatiga (left) and Richard Piffano were gunned down a year ago in Bogota.

Hours after he asked his parishioners to pray for him, Rev. Rafael Reatiga was found shot to death in a car in Bogota with another Roman Catholic priest.

The Associated Press reported that police initially suspected that Reatiga and Rev. Richard Piffano, 37, were victims of robbery. But now, three weeks after their bodies were found, Colombian prosecutors say the two Catholic priests hired hitmen to kill them when at least one of them was diagnosed with AIDS.

Prosecutors located the alleged hitmen based on phone numbers the priests had called from their cell phones days before their deaths.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that the priests paid about $8,500 for the hit. They had originally planned to commit suicide by throwing themselves into a canyon but couldn’t bring themselves to jump. Medical tests showed that Reatiga, 36, had AIDS.

He also had syphilis and had been seen visiting places frequented by gay men in Bogota, according to the AP.

Two of the four assassins have been arrested, the AP reported. They face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.