Kentucky Snake Handler Bit During Church Service Refuses Medical Treatment and Dies

Pastor Jamie Coots holds a snake while Big Cody plays guitar in the background at his Middlesboro, Kentucky, church in an episode of 'Snake Salvation' on National Geographic Television.
Pastor Jamie Coots holds a snake while Big Cody plays guitar in the background at his Middlesboro, Kentucky, church in an episode of "Snake Salvation" on National Geographic Television. | (Photo: Screengrab/NGT)

A Kentucky snake handler was bit during Sunday service at Mossy Simpson Pentecostal Church in Jenson last weekend and died shortly thereafter.

John David Brock, 60, regularly attended the church which interprets the scripture verse Mark 16:18 literally.

"They will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well," (NIV).

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Brock was handling a snake on Sunday when it bit him in his left arm. After being bitten, Brock refused medical treatment and continued his day. The snake's venom, however, killed him while he visited his brother later that same day, according to the Bell County Sheriff's Office.

Bell County coroner Jay Steele told that Brock's death is under investigation. He claims Brock struggled with other health issues and confirmed there will not be an autopsy on his body. His cause of death will be determined by examining medical records.

A Mossy Simpson Pentecostal Church member claims Brock was bitten by a rattlesnake.

Brock, the second Kentucky snake handler to die from a bite during the past few years, worked as a coal miner for 36 years, according to his obituary.

In February 2014, popular snake-handling Pentecostal pastor Jamie Coots, who starred in the National Geographic series "Snake Salvation," died after being bit by one of his snakes during a church service earlier that evening.

Coots was attending service at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro, Kentucky, when he was bitten. He left the sanctuary before the paramedics arrived. After learning that Coots went home, the ambulance crew rushed to his house to warn him of the dangers of not seeking medical attention.

He also declined help and died hours later, according to authorities.

Coots was bitten twice before: once in the early 1990s by a large rattlesnake, and once again in 1998 on the middle finger of his right hand. He did not seek medical attention for either of those bites and survived.

"It's a victory to God's people that the Lord seen fit to bring me through it," he noted the day after he was bitten in 1998.

Contact:; follow me on Twitter @vinfunaro

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