Snake Salvation pastor dies from bite

Faith, Normal

The National, Thursday February 20th, 2014

 AFTER sustaining numerous snake bites over the years, a prominent serpent-handling minister died last Saturday after a rattlesnake bit him.

Jamie Coots, 42, co-star of Snake Salvation, died after a rattlesnake bit him during a Kentucky church service.

He died two hours later in his home surrounded by family. 

Andrew Hamblin, Coots’s co-star on the reality TV show, was also present at the incident, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Emergency workers tried to convince the minister’s family to let them take him to the hospital, but his wife and son refused.

“He always said: Don’t take me to the doctor,” his son Cody Coots told the Herald-Leader.

“It was totally against his religion.”

Snake handling has seen a small-scale resurgence among young Pentecostals in Appalachia, spawning a reality show and a religious freedom case. 

The New York Times even noted how Hamblin and his supporters hoped to become a “new front in the battle for religious liberty”.

Last November, Hamblin pleaded guilty to a wildlife possession charge after authorities confiscated more than 50 venomous snakes from his church. But a jury later chose not to indict him on the charges.

However, Coots pleaded guilty a year ago to illegally possessing poisonous snakes and faced a one-year probation.