Suspect Detained in Killing of Priests

Police have detained a suspect in the killings of two Jesuit priests in their Moscow apartment in late October, the Investigative Committee said Thursday.

The unidentified suspect, born in the Tver region in 1970, was detained around 6 a.m. Thursday and has confessed to the murders, the committee said in a statement.

The suspect said he had killed one priest, Victor Betancourt, 42, of Ecuador, in a quarrel and then to cover it up attacked Otto Messmer, 47, a Russian and the top Jesuit in Russia, when he arrived later, the statement said.

The priests, of St. Louis Catholic Church on Malaya Lubyanka, were found dead with battered skulls at their home on Ulitsa Petrovka on Oct. 28.

The Investigative Committee has said the deaths had probably occurred 24 hours before the bodies were found.

A court will decide Friday whether to sanction the suspect's arrest. If charged and convicted of murder, he faces up to life in prison.