A snake-handling pastor, or rather the snake-handling pastor Jamie Coots – he probably was the only one – has died over the weekend. The cause of death: Coots was bitten by a rattlesnake during a church service in Kentucky.

Coots was famous around the area for his skill with the reptiles, although according to his son, speaking to the Associated Press, the pastor had been bitten eight times before. He just never developed a reaction. Jamie Coots was handling a rattlesnake at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro when he was bitten on the hand Saturday night, another preacher, Cody Winn, told WBIR-TV After the bite, Coots dropped the snakes, but then picked them back up and continued on, confident in his immunity. Within minutes, Winn said Coots headed to the bathroom.

An ambulance arrived at the church at 8.30, but the paramedics were told that Coots had gone home. The pastor continued to refuse treatment when he was contacted by medical staff. According to his son, this was how Coots had reacted to all the previous incidents.
"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 said. There were also a few incidents, involving Coots’ parishioners, including 28-year-olf Melinda Brown, who died at Coots’ church in 1995, after being bitten in the church. The Bell County attorney at the time wanted to prosecute under a 1942 state law that made it illegal to handle or display snakes during religious services. But the judge refused to sign the criminal complaint.