Kentucky snake handler death doesn’t shake belief

TRAVIS LOLLER Associated Press Published Feb 27, 2014 at 04:01PM
FILE - In this May 6, 2012 file photo, Jamie Coots, pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church of Middlesboro, Ky, stands on a bench before the church, singing and holding a rattlesnake during service at Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, Tenn. on May 6, 2012. The snake-handling preacher has gone back home from a Tennessee courtroom without his venomous serpents after pleading guilty to illegally having poisonous snakes that were confiscated after a traffic stop in Knox County, Tenn., on Jan. 31. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, Shelley Mays)
FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2013 file photo, Pastor Jamie Coots prays during a service at the Full Gospel Tabernacle In Jesus Name church in Middlesboro, Ky. Coots died Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, after being bitten by a rattlesnake. (AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, Dan Henry)
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 1995 file photo, Junior McCormick tests his faith by handling a rattlesnake as Homer Browing looks on during services at the Church of the Lord Jesus in Kingston, Ga. Church members believe that if they have faith in God, they will be protected from harm as they handle the serpents. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
FILE - In this Friday Nov. 15, 2013 file photo, Tabernacle Church of God Pastor Andrew Hamblin leads a prayer circle around Ronnie Vaught of Corbin, Ky. in Jacksboro, Tenn. Hamblin, who appears on the National Geographic reality television show "Snake Salvation," is charged with possession of Class 1 wildlife after more than 50 venomous snakes were confiscated from his church. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, J. Miles Cary)
Tabernacle Church of God Pastor Andrew Hamblin declares his faith in God and his right to handle snakes before his arraignment on Friday Nov. 15, 2013, in Jacksboro, Tenn. Hamblin, who appears on the National Geographic reality television show “Snake Salvation,” is charged with possession of Class 1 wildlife after more than 50 venomous snakes were confiscated from his church. (AP Photo/J. Miles Cary, Knoxville News Sentinel)
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 1944 file photo, members of the Holiness Faith Healers sect handle poisonous snakes in Stone Creek, Va. as a memorial to Rev. Johnnie Hensley who died after being bitten on July 28, 1944 by a snake being held by Rev. Oscar Hutton, right, a sect member for 23 years. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Aug. 22, 1944 file photo, members of the Pentecostal Church of God, a faith healing sect, surround a woman who has "Got the Spirit" as a man holds a snake above her head in Evarts, Ky. Although a Kentucky statute passed in 1940 prohibits the handling of snakes in connection with religious services, this sect revived the ritual after the recent death of a native of the region who was bitten by rattlesnake. (AP Photo)