Parishioner of Life Tabernacle Church passes away from complications related to COVID-19


Congregants arrive at the Life Tabernacle Church in Central, La., Sunday, March 29, 2020. Pastor Tony Spell has defied a shelter-in-place order by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, due to the new coronavirus pandemic, and continues to hold church services with hundreds of congregants. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

78-year old East Baton Rouge Parish resident and Life Tabernacle Church parishioner Harold Orillion has passed away from complications related to COVID-19, according to a Freedom of Information Act report obtained from the EBR Coroner’s Office by NBC Local 33 / FOX 44.

Life Tabernacle Church has held biweekly services in large numbers over the past month despite Governor John Bel Edwards’ Stay at Home order limiting crowds to 10 people or less. Central police arrested Life Tabernacle Church Pastor Tony Spell on March 31st and charged him with six counts of disobeying the powers of government.

When reached for comment Thursday afternoon, Pastor Spell disputed that Orillion’s death was related to COVID-19.

“He died of a broken heart,” Spell said. “Harold’s son died last week, that triggered Harold’s early onset Parkinson’s…his wife has lost a husband and a son in a week.”

Spell added, “Harold did not have Coronavirus, he was never on ventilator, he did not have Covid-19.”

However, the office of East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark confirms Orillion died of “Acute respiratory distress syndrome, 2nd pneumonia, 2nd COVID-19.”

According to Pastor Spell, Harold Orillion was a parishioner in good standing with Life Tabernacle Church.

“He was a veteran, a distinguished citizen, and he cannot have his 21-gun salute,” Spell said. “He cannot have a burial time because of the Stay at Home Order. It’s a tragedy that he cannot be buried.”

Spell also confirmed that Life Tabernacle Church will move forward Sunday morning with services at 10:00.

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