published Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Snake handler loses snakes before Tennessee court

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A snake-handling Kentucky preacher has gone back home from a Tennessee courtroom without his venomous serpents.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Jamie Coots pleaded guilty to illegally having poisonous snakes that were confiscated after a traffic stop in Knox County, Tenn., on Jan. 31.

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

Coots will be on unsupervised probation for a year.

The three rattlesnakes and two copperheads found in his car were taken to a zoo in Sevierville, Tenn.

Coots’ attorney said his client legally bought the snakes in Alabama and could legally possess them in Kentucky.

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