Posted Jun 23, 2009 11:03 am CDT
The death of one of South Carolina’s most dogged prosecutors has left the Palmetto State in disbelief.
Jennifer Evans, who headed the state attorney general’s criminal section and was the chief prosecutor for the state grand jury, died suddenly across the border in North Carolina over the weekend. She was 40.
The State reports that Evans’ death was related to an unidentified health issue.
“It was completely unexpected,” Attorney General Henry McMaster told the newspaper. McMaster said Evans was near irreplaceable.
“If you wanted a class on some area of criminal law, you would go to Jennifer,” McMaster said. “There was nothing too big, too hard for her. I never heard her say anything was too difficult or it would take a lot of work. That wasn’t in her vocabulary.”
Evans spearheaded white-collar cases against HomeGold Financial executives and led statewide efforts against domestic violence, drug trafficking rings and won a key plea in a high-profile dogfighting case, notes the Greenville News.
Lawyers speaking to the State described Evans as a courtroom warrior who was liked and respected by opposing counsel.
“She was tough and hard-hitting without being mean-spirited or ever landing a blow that wasn’t fair,” said Columbia defense lawyer Joel Collins, who handled at least one high-profile case across the aisle from Evans.
According to her obituary, Evans was born in White Plains, N.Y., and was a graduate of the Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C., where she studied international relations and political science. She later matriculated at the University of South Carolina, where she earned a master’s in international relations and international economics and went on to secure a J.D.
She’d worked for the attorney general’s office since 1998. Evans is survived by her husband, Craig Reynolds Evans.
A memorial service is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Richland County Courthouse.