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Reality show snake-handling preacher dies by snakebite

The star of a National Geographic Channel reality show died Saturday after being bitten by a snake and refusing to be treated.

It wasn’t a random snake attack that cost the man his life. Jamie Coots was a snake-handling Penecostal preacher who also starred in “Snake Salvation.”

CNN says he preached at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky. He reportedly lived by a Bible passage that suggests poisonous snakebites won’t harm believers that are anointed by God.

In February 2013, Coots was given one year of probation for having crossed into Tennessee with venomous snakes. He was previously arrested in 2008 for keeping 74 snakes in his home, according to National Geographic. Tennessee banned snake handling in 1947 after five people were bitten in churches over two years’ time, the channel says on the show site.

“Snake Salvation” debuted in September 2013.

CNN reports he was a third-generation “serpent handler” and that he had already planned to pass his church’s practice on to his adult son, Little Cody.


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