NBC News

A Louisiana pastor who defied state orders against large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic has been placed under house arrest.

Tony Spell, of Life Tabernacle Church in the city of Central, has been fitted with an ankle bracelet and placed under house after he would not promise to maintain social distancing, his attorney confirmed Sunday. Spell has admitted to violating Louisiana’s mandate to avoid large gatherings by hosting church services.

Joseph Long, Spell’s attorney, told NBC News in a statement that Spell lived 50 yards from his church, which still planned to host services Sunday. Long characterized the judge’s order as forcing Spell to stop “preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his congregation.”

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