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Snake handler: Jamie Coots, a snake-handling pastor, dies from a snakebite

Jamie Coots handling a poisonous snake like the one that killed him
Jamie Coots handling a poisonous snake like the one that killed him

Snake-handler Jamie Coots, of “Snake Salvation,” died on Saturday after being bitten by a poisonous snake and refusing treatment. Coots, a Pentecostal believer believed that being a snake-handler and poisonous snakebites would not harm anyone who believes as long as they are anointed by God, according to a CNN report.

Though it is illegal to have such a practice in most of the country’s states, it is still practiced in some areas – primarily in the rural South in the United States. Coots believed his practice of handling deadly snakes at his small Kentucky church was a holy sacrament as opposed to a safety risk to himself and his parishioners.

Coots, of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church, was the third generation of serpent handlers and had hoped to pass the family tradition onto his son Little Cody.

Coots was featured on “Salvation Nation” - a National Geographic show - with cottonmouths, rattlers, and copperheads – all poisonous snakes. Though he had already seen persons die from poisonous snakebites and had lost part of a finger from a snakebite, he was still a staunch believer and had faith that he could survive a poisonous snakebite.

Legally, he had broken the law for having crossed over into Tennessee with poisonous snakes and was sentenced to a one-year probation in February 2013. He also was arrested six years ago for having 74 snakes at his home.