A parishioner at Louisiana pastor Tony Spell’s megachurch has died from COVID-19, according to the East Baton Rouge coroner.
Spell was recently charged with six misdemeanors for violating the state’s coronavirus restrictions by continuing to hold large services at Life Tabernacle Church in Central. He has said in defending the services that Christians “do not mind dying” if it means they’ve done it for God and their freedom.
The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that a 78-year-old man who attended the church, Harold Orillion, died Wednesday from COVID-19.
Spell described Orillion as “great member of the church” and one of his “righthand men.” However, the pastor denied that Orillion died from COVID-19.
“That is a lie,” Spell told WAFB-TV.
According to the station, Spell declined to say when Orillion last attended the church.
“The coroner’s report lists the man’s cause of death as acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and COVID-19,” WAFB-TV reported. “Acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia are frequently found in patients who die of coronavirus.”
Earlier Thursday, we reported that an attorney representing Spell in his legal battle with the state is now hospitalized with COVID-19.