Pastor Jamie Coots, a well known snake-handling preacher from Kentucky and a regular on National Geographic’s Snake Salvation, died last night after suffering a snake bite. He was bitten on the right hand during a church service Saturday evening. After the snake bite, Coots returned to his home, and though paramedics arrived, Coots refused treatment, saying that his faith would save him. It did not.
An hour after paramedics left Coots home, they had to return to pronounce him dead.
It was not the first time that Coots had been bitten by a snake. In fact, it was the third. He’d been bitten by rattlesnakes twice before, and in one case, he lost the end of his middle finger, which simply died and fell off. Moreover, in 1995, another woman died at the same church after being bitten by a snake. In that case, police actually considered charging Coots for her death, but decided against it, saying it was in furtherance of his faith.
For those who saw last season’s Justified, this scene should be awfully familiar. Billy St. Cyr, a snake-handling preacher played by Joseph Mazzello (above), suffered a similar fate after he was bitten by a snake and refused to seek treatment.