Politics & Government

SC solicitor dies after battle with cancer

By Nikie Mayo and Mike Ellis

Independent Mail

Chrissy Adams
Chrissy Adams

Chrissy Adams, the 10th Judicial Circuit solicitor, has died after a long battle with cancer.

Her husband, Eddie Adams, said early Wednesday that his wife died shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday at home, surrounded by her family and friends. She was 49.

"This has been a long and hard road for her and for us," he said. "She fought with her spirit as hard as she could, every minute that she could, but her body couldn't fight any longer. She was dedicated to her work, her family and her boys. We know she is in a better place."

Eddie Adams said a wake for his wife is for planned Friday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Greenville. A funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Friday. She will be laid to rest Saturday in Charleston, he said.

Chrissy Adams was first found to have Hodgkin's lymphoma in October 2003, her husband said. In 2004, she began campaigning for the solicitor's post.

"She would take chemo on a Friday, then sleep all weekend, then campaign all week long," he said. "A lot of people never knew she was sick."

Anderson attorney Druanne White, who was solicitor at the time, lost to Adams.

White said all Adams wanted to do with her law degree was prosecute cases.

"She was a born prosecutor," White said. "She started battling cancer more than a decade ago and she really fought. To have fought that long and that hard says something about a person. I'm sure one of the reasons she fought so hard was for her kids. She was a mom. And I think this is a lesson for us all to learn: To appreciate our good health."

Adams took office in 2005, prosecuting cases in Anderson and Oconee counties. After a period of remission, the cancer resurfaced in 2012. She underwent stem cell transplants in 2012 and 2014. In the past year, she battled a serious infection that was a complication related to the cancer, and has been on an extended medical leave. She decided in 2016 not to seek re-election.

David Wagner, a longtime deputy solicitor under Adams, won an election for the post in November and is expected to take office on Jan. 11.

"She was wonderful and bright and dedicated to her work," Wagner said Wednesday morning. "We are going to miss her toughness; and her. "

Adams earned an undergraduate degree from Clemson University and a law degree from the University of South Carolina. Her legal career started in Charleston and included stops in Greenville and Oconee counties before she got the top job in the 10th Judicial Circuit.

She handled high-profile cases including the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond in 2015, a 2008 quadruple homicide in Anderson County and the death of Clemson University student Tucker Hipps , who died while on a fraternity run in 2014. Adams decided to not prosecute a Seneca police officer for the shooting of Hammond, she helped get a life sentence and four murder convictions for Nathan Dickson and she oversaw the investigation into Hipps' death.

David Ross, executive director of the South Carolina Commission on Prosecution Coordination, worked as a prosecutor with Adams in the 10th Circuit. He called her a sweet, kind person with a memorable laugh.

"But she was a fighter," Ross said. "Her fighting spirit shows in the way she battled cancer for so long. We were good friends and I will miss her."

As solicitor, she championed and implemented a worthless-check unit to help curb the number of checks bounced in local businesses. In 2015, she introduced the first courtroom dog in South Carolina. Roma, a Labrador retriever, is often put into service to calm nervous trial witnesses or distraught family members involved in a case.

Outside the courtroom, Adams was involved in community work. She served on the board of directors of Collins Children's Home in Seneca, a Christian nonprofit that works with needy children and families. Her husband said she was also passionate about the mission of Safe Harbor, an agency that exists to help victims of domestic violence.

Adams donned her dancing shoes in 2012 for "Dancing for our Heroes." In the charity event, she raised money for the Cancer Association of Anderson.

"That's one of the funny things I'll miss about her," her husband said. "She would hear some song on the radio and just start some fun, crazy dance. She was full of life and full of joy and she knew the value of appreciating every moment."

In addition to her husband, a former chairman of the Oconee County Republican Party, Chrissy Adams is survived by the couple's two sons, 14-year-old Gregory and 9-year-old James. She is also survived by her mother, Helen Theos of Charleston, and her brother Nick of Atlanta.