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BREAKING NEWS: Longtime solicitor Justice dies at 63

Sixth Circuit Solicitor John Justice, who served nearly three decades as the icon of legal justice in Chester, Lancaster and Fairfield counties, died just before midnight Friday after a long battle with heart disease, his wife, Gracy, said Saturday.

Justice died at Providence Hospital in Columbia, his wife said. He was 63.

As solicitor, Justice was responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases in General Sessions and Family Court in the 6th Circuit. The circuit formerly had one of the biggest backlogs in the state, but recently, the backlog dropped 10 percent. The circuit was among only five of 16 state judicial circuits to close cases.

Justice, who had been solicitor since 1978, had been working at home because of heart disease and decided not to seek re-election this fall. He was a candidate for a heart transplant until April when he was taken off the list.

Earlier this month, on Justice’s 63rd birthday, Exit 55 on Interstate 77 was renamed the John Justice Interchage in his honor.

“I’m just moved very much about this whole idea,” Justice said at the time.

For more on this story, see Sunday’s Herald.