Preacher Won’t Get His Snakes Back

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (February 28, 2013)—Jamie Coots, a snake-handling preacher, headed home to Kentucky from a Tennessee courtroom without his venomous serpents.

Coots pleaded guilty Monday to illegally having poisonous snakes, which were confiscated after a traffic stop in on Jan. 31 in Knox County, Tenn.

Prosecutors agreed to drop charges of transporting the snakes and wildlife officials agreed to give back the boxes Coots was using to transport the snakes from Alabama to his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro, Ky.

Coots will spend a year on unsupervised probation.

Coots wanted to avoid going through a long legal process but still believes Tennessee's law barring him from transporting the snakes on his way back to Middlesboro is unconstitutional, his lawyer says.


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