A Kentucky pastor who co-starred in the TV show Snake Salvation has died of a snakebite.
Emergency personnel received a call Saturday night that someone at a church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, had suffered a snakebite, Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe said in a statement. He said an ambulance crew went to the church, but the Rev. Jamie Coots had left. The crew went to Coots' home and found him suffering from a bite to the hand.
"After a brief examination and discussion of the possible dangers if the wound was not treated, treatment — and transport to the hospital — was refused," Sharpe said.
An hour later, police, emergency officials and a deputy coroner returned to the home to find that Coots had died, Sharpe said.
Coots, who was profiled on The National Geographic show featuring Pentecostal, serpent-handling preachers, pleaded guilty last year to violating Tennessee's exotic animals law and agreed to surrender his snakes.
Coots and the show's co-star, the Rev. Andrew Hamblin, believe in a passage from the Gospel of Mark that suggests a poisonous snakebite won't harm them if they are anointed by God's power:
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."