Two Colombian priests shot dead last year had hired the hitmen who killed them as part of a suicide pact entered into after one of them was diagnosed with AIDS, officials said.
The bodies of the two priests, 35 and 36 years old, were found inside a car in January 2011 in what was initially believed to have been a simple homicide.
But prosecutor Patricia Larrota said Tuesday that the two had entered into a suicide pact and resorted to hiring hitmen after failing in an earlier attempt in which they drove a car off a cliff but were stopped by a security fence. She said they paid around $8,000 to the hitmen, who were arrested following the shooting.
"The priests said they would pay for their own death, having looked into several options," the prosecutor told reporters, reading from a statement by one of the hired gunmen.
The investigation found that one of the priests, who frequented gay bars, had been diagnosed with AIDS.
The family of the other priest has disputed the findings, accusing the authorities of "slander." The Catholic Church has not commented on the case.
The church forbids sex for clergy, homosexual acts and suicide.