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Redding, CA — A recently dead Redding, CA criminal has been raised from the grave only to claim that he’s still dead. Former murderer Pete Trevino was killed in a police shootout late last year and was raised from the dead by the local charismatic Bethel megachurch members in what now appears to be a publicity stunt gone wrong.

Mr. Trevino is also gay.

The resurrection happened over the weekend when the Bethel youth group, the “Word Keepers,” was challenged on social media to “put their money where their mouths were.” Some atheists had infiltrated their private Facebook group and began taunting the youngsters. At one point, they were challenged to raise someone from the grave.

“So we took the challenge,” said group leader Seth Daredon, 17. “We made the mistake of asking who we should resurrect. And one guy said, ‘How about that guy who was shot by the police last year?’ I suppose we should have researched this Trevino guy a bit more, ya know?”

Bethel Church

The roots of Bethel Church date back to 1954, when the church opened in Redding as an affiliate of a Pentecostal denomination called the Assemblies of God. For years, Bethel existed as a modest offshoot. That changed in 1996 when they opened the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, which among other things, advocates gay conversion therapy and the ability to raise people from the dead.

A group of 15 Word Keepers arrived at St. Joseph’s Cemetery early Saturday morning to attempt their first resurrection. Generally, Bethel forbids parishioners under 24 from attempting such acts. But these teenagers believed they were on a mission from God; and a dare from social media.

“We wanted to prove our faith,” continued Seth, “but I suppose we should have let our elders know what we were doing.”

The team spent over 4 hours hovering over Pete Trevino’s grave, speaking in tongues, praying, and occasionally spitting. Although Daredon claims spitting was more of a ‘tick’ by one of the team members rather than a spiritual practice.

When they heard the ground stirring, the teens were about to give up, justifying their failures as lacking faith.

“That’s when it all started to happen, praise God,” said Seth. “There was this moaning and grumbling, and then the ground started to pop up around his grave. Then there was a hand. Then another sticking out. The next thing we knew, this awful-looking man was standing before us. And boy, was he unpleasant.”

According to accounts from other Word Keepers, the first thing Pete Trevino said was, “Well, what the fuck do we have here?” The teens were initially frightened by their disheveled resurrection, but they decided to whisk him back to the church after a few minutes.

Pete Trevino Changes His Name

Mr. Trevino’s first business order was assuming a new name to hide his previous identity and “make good with his new church.”

“Pete used to say, ‘My name is Pete, but most people just call me Pete,'” said longtime neighbor friend Darrell Fulman. “But now he wants to go by Lazarus. Lazarus Trevino. You know, from the Bible?”

According to the police, they can not take an undead man back into custody. That would be a double jeopardy case, but Pete, now Lazarus Trevino, still claims he is dead. However, none of this has stopped members of Bethel from accepting him into the flock.

“He’s certainly a little rough around the edges,” said one church member who asked to remain anonymous. “We even found him a job down at the Arco. But unfortunately, that only lasted about a week until the store manager found him drinking directly from the slushie machine and using cash register money to buy marijuana. But God is working through him and us.”

Lazarus Explains

“Yo, man. Being Pete sucked anyway,” said the newly undead and somewhat confused former murderer. “But once that pastor convinced me I was not dead, I realized the Arco station cash register wasn’t my calling. Hear me? I knew my name could be in the papers if I snorted a bindle of whatever and killed some people who can’t figure out how to park.”

For now, the church is using Mr. Trevino’s miraculous rising from the dead as a witness of what many at Bethel say is “God’s masterful presence.” As for Mr. Trevino, he’s just glad to be alive again.

“Yo, shit, you know, it’s pretty awesome not to be dead,” said a befuddled Lazarus. “It’s the little things I enjoy. And that’s what I want to tell everyone. I even like these Bible pounders, even though they’re weird.”