Originally created 04/15/04

Minister dies from snakebite during service

JONESVILLE, Va. -- A preacher bitten by a rattlesnake as he handled it during an Easter service at a rural church died after refusing medical treatment, authorities said.

The Rev. Dwayne Long died a day after being bitten on a finger during a service at his church, where members believe ritual serpent-handling is a form of obedience to God, said Sheriff Gary Parsons.

"We don't anticipate any charges," he said. "That's their belief."

No one attending the service at the Pentecostal church sought medical help, Parsons said. Members believe when people die from a snakebite during a service, it is a sign that it was their time to go.


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