You might remember Rev. Tony Spell as the leader of a mega church that has vowed to remain open, even while COVID-19 has one of its worst outbreaks in his area. The first of probably many other victims died on Wednesday.
Source: The Advocate
A 78-year-old man who attended a Central church that has bucked state stay-at-home restrictions has died from the illness tied to the novel coronavirus.
The East Baton Rouge Parish coroner said Harold Orillion, a parish resident, died from the COVID-19 respiratory illness on Wednesday. Three sources told The Advocate that Orillion had ties to the Life Tabernacle Church. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss a link between the man and the church.
The Rev. Tony Spell, the church's pastor, did not return messages left Thursday about Orillion after the coroner released his death information following a public records request from The Advocate. Spell later in the day confirmed to television stations WAFB and WVLA that Orillion was a parishioner in good standing.
Spell also disputed that Orillion's death was due to the virus, despite the coroner's determination. "That is a lie," Spell told WAFB.