Snake-handling pastor and star of reality show dead


Snake-handling pastor and star of reality show dead

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Feb 17, 2014

A Kentucky pastor and star of a reality TV show is dead after being bitten by a snake.

Jamie Coots died Saturday evening after refusing to be treated, according to CNN. Coots starred in the National Geographic Channel show "Snake Salvation," a reality TV show based on his church.

Coots believed the Bible said poisonous snakebites would not harm believers who were anointed by God.

He was a third-generation "serpent handler" and was pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name.

The reality show featured Coots and cast handling all kinds of poisonous snakes. According to the show's website, Coots believed that if they did not practice the ritual of snake handling, he would go to hell.

Coots was bitten on his right hand at his Kentucky church Saturday. He had previously survived a bite that resulted in the loss of most of his middle finger on his right hand.

Medical personnel were called to the church after the bite, but Coots had already left. They located him at his home and tried to talk him into medical treatment but he refused.

He was found dead about an hour later.

Snake handling is banned in many states, and Coots was arrested in 2008 for keeping 74 snakes in his home. He was also given one year probation in 2013 for crossing into Tennessee with venomous snakes.


Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani, who is based in Las Vegas at KTNV-TV Channel 13, is a contributor to