'Snake Salvation' star Jamie Coots dies from venemous snakebite after Kentucky church service
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/17/2014
Snake Salvation star Jamie Coots, a snake-holding pastor from Kentucky, died from a snakebite on Saturday night, according to authorities and family members.
Jamie passed away in his own home around 10PM after a snake bit his hand during a church appearance at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, KY, NBC's WBIR-TV affiliate reported.
"Jamie went across the floor. He had one of the rattlers in his hand, he came over and he was standing beside me. It was plain view, [the snake] just turned its head and bit him in the back of the hand before, within a second," fellow preacher Cody Winn told WBIR.
Jamie reportedly dropped the snakes after the incident but then continued on with the service. Minutes later, he allegedly went to the bathroom with his son Cody Coots and fellow Snake Salvation star Andrew Hamblen.
"Andrew said he looked at him and said 'sweet Jesus' and it was over," Winn said.
Cody Coots and members of the congregation reportedly helped get his father into a car to be taken home, and once there, Jamie turned away emergency personnel attempting to offer medical treatment, according to Middlesboro police chief Jeff Sharpe.
About an hour later, officials reportedly returned to the house to find Jamie dead. Cody Coots told WBIR his father assumed he'd be just fine since he had previously suffered eight similar snakebites.
"We're going to go home, he's going to lay on the couch, he's going to hurt, he's going to pray for a while and he's going to get better. That's what happened every other time, except this time was just so quick and it was crazy -- it was really crazy," Cody Coots explained.
Jamie reportedly pleaded guilty to violating Tennessee's exotic animals law a year ago. He reached a plea deal at the time and was required to surrender his vipers, a certain type of poisonous snake, as a result, WBIR reported.
Snake Salvation debuted on National Geographic Channel last fall. According to the network, Snake Salvation's stars believe a bible passage that suggests a poisonous snakebite will not harm them as long as they are anointed by God's power and they are destined for hell if they don't practice the ritual of snake handling.