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Latino Daily News

Tuesday February 14, 2012

Priests Paid Men to Kill Them after Botched Suicide Attempt, say Prosecutors

Priests Paid Men to Kill Them after Botched Suicide Attempt, say Prosecutors

Photo: Colombian Priest Killed

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Two Catholic priests gunned down a year ago in Bogota hired the hit men who killed them, the Colombian Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday.

The Revs. Rafael Reatiga Rojas and Richard Armando Piffano Laguado put out the word that they would “pay for their deaths,” prosecutor Ana Patricia Larrota said at the arraignment of the two alleged shooters.

The hit men were paid 15 million pesos ($8,435), according to the indictment.

Larrota revealed that one of the priests had ordered a medical exam that is performed “on people who, apparently, have syphilis.”

This same clergyman was HIV-positive and both men tried days earlier to commit suicide by simulating a traffic accident by driving off a cliff near the northeastern city of Bucaramanga, the prosecutor said.

She said that the containment barriers along the side of the highway prevented them from carrying out their original plan, and so they concluded that “the only option was to find a person who would cut their lives short.”

The priests then hired Isidro Castiblanco Forero and Gildardo Peñate Suarez to carry out their killings, said Larrota, and those two men were charged on Monday with aggravated murder.

The telephone records of the priests before the crime allowed investigators to identify the alleged murderers-for-hire.

The basic results of the investigation were published Monday in the Bogota daily El Tiempo, which said that the priests made a “death pact” when one of them was diagnosed with “a contagious, incurable disease.”

Reatiga, 36, and Piffano, 37, were found shot to death in an automobile on Jan. 27, 2011, in an isolated area of Kennedy, a populous sector of the Colombian capital.