East Tennessee Pastor Cleared in Snake Case

East Tennessee Pastor Cleared in Snake Case

CREATED Jan 8, 2014

JACKSBORO, Tenn. (AP) - An East Tennessee grand jury has cleared a pastor who has appeared on a reality television show about snake handling in church of possessing venomous snakes.

Campbell County pastor Andrew Hamblin of Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette was cited Nov. 7 and pleaded not guilty. But the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1krpnHO ) reports a grand jury on Wednesday exonerated the 22-year-old pastor.

Prosecutor Lori Phillips Jones said officials didn't see the matter as a religious freedom case but public safety. She said she respects the grand jury's decision.

Hamblin has appeared on the National Geographic show "Snake Salvation."

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