James "Jamie" Coots (November 17, 1971 – February 15, 2014) was a Pentecostal pastor in Kentucky who was featured in the National Geographic Channel reality television show "Snake Salvation," which documented the lives of people who practice snake handling. Coots died Feb. 15, 2014 from a rattlesnake bite.[1]


Coots grew up in Middlesboro, Ky. He was a third-generation snake handler. He began handling snakes at age 23. His son, Cody "Little Cody" Coots, is also active in his father's church.

Jamie Coots had been bitten eight times by snakes over the years, before the bite that killed him. One bite in 1993 nearly killed him, according to Cody Coots. Jamie Coots lost part of a finger from one bite in 1998.[2]

A 28-year-old Tennessee woman in his congregation was bitten by a snake in 1995 during a church service Coots led. She died from the bite in his home. Coots was charged in connection with the death but a judge decided not to pursue the case.[3]

Coots was fined in 2008 for keeping 74 snakes in his home. He was sentenced to one year of probation in 2013 for illegal wildlife possession after he crossed into Tennessee with five venomous snakes.[4]


On February 15 of 2014, Jamie Coots who was 42, was bitten on the right hand during a service at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro. After the bite, Coots dropped the snakes, but then picked them back up and continued the ceremony.[5]

Later, he was driven to his home. When paramedics arrived, his relatives refused medical treatment for him, saying it was inconsistent with his religion. He died at home.[6]