Conflicted Priests Hired Hitmen to Kill Themselves

A Roman Catholic priest has shockingly hired gunmen to take his own life and the life of another priest, after discovering he had sexually transmitted diseases.

Rev. Rafael Reatiga was found shot dead, along with another priest, Richard Piffano, on Jan. 27, 2011, according to The Guardian. Their bodies were found in a car in Southern Bogota, Colombia.

Initially, investigators thought that the clergymen were victims of a robbery. However, on Tuesday, prosecutor Ana Patricia Larrota said that investigators discovered that the men had been killed by hitmen.

The news was especially shocking because the hitmen were hired by Reatiga himself. Reportedly, he wanted to end his life after discovering he had contracted AIDS. In addition to AIDS, Reatiga also had syphilis and according to witness' testimony, he has a frequent visitor in the homosexual hangouts of central Bogota.

It is unclear of the relationship Reatiga had with Piffano.

According to the Associated Press, Rev. Reatiga had asked his parishioners to pray for him and also shared a list of songs he wanted for his funeral, right before his death.

Lorrota, who processed two of the four alleged assassins, said that originally, the men planned to throw themselves off of a cliff, but lacked the nerve to do so.

Three weeks before his death, Reatiga had transferred his possessions to his mother, while Piffano withdrew almost $4,000 from his bank on the day of his death.

The priests paid the assassins $8,500, according to Maitza Gonzalez, the chief investigator of the prosecutor's office. Two of the hitmen were identified by Colombian authorities as Gildardo Alberto Penate and Isidro Castiblanco. They are being charged with aggravated homicide and face up to 40 years in prison, if convicted.

Investigators were able to unravel the twisted story, based on the telephone log of the priests in their final days. They traced numbers in their cell phones to track who they communicated with in the days before their death.

Some of the numbers belonged to a criminal gang who engaged in counterfeiting, fraud and arms trafficking. The gang allegedly supplied the four killers. Two of the hitmen remain at large, according to authorities.