• John Fitzgerald for

    Attorney General






    The Most


    Prosecutor to Run

    For Attorney General

    In South Dakota



  • Others Talk About Protecting Freedom and Justice in South Dakota.

    One Man Has Actually Done It.

    John is a 1977 graduate of Black Hills State University and a 1979 graduate from the University of South Dakota Law School. John has been a practicing attorney in South Dakota since 1980.

    John was the Butte County State's Attorney from 1981-1995 and a Deputy State's Attorney in Lawrence County from 1990-1995. In 1995 John became the Lawrence County State's Attorney and has been serving Lawrence County ever since.

    John is a working State's Attorney who spends countless hours in the courtroom prosecuting felony cases, abuse and neglect proceedings, as well as juvenile cases. John is an experienced trial lawyer having successfully tried over 250 jury trials, including capital murder, rape, robbery, burglary, arson, kidnapping, distribution of controlled substances, and just about every other crime imaginable.

    John is the former Chairman for the Butte County Republican Central Committee and the former Vice-Chairman of the Lawrence County Republican Central Committee. He was awarded the prestigious award of Prosecutor of the Year for 2012. In May of 2016, State's Attorneys from every county in South Dakota unanimously elected John as Vice President of the South Dakota State's Attorneys Association.

    John and his wife, Mary, have three adult children. All three children are graduates from Black Hills State University and the University of South Dakota Law School. John and Mary also have five grandchildren; Ayden, Evy, Pearl, Erabella, & Penny.

  • Trial Record

    Because Experience Matters

    John Fitzgerald has tried hundreds of jury trials.

    Here is a list of the crimes tried:


    Capital Murder
    1st Degree Murder
    1st Degree Felony Murder
    2nd Degree Murder
    Attempted Murde
    1st Degree Manslaughter
    2nd Degree Manslaughter
    Vehicular Homicide
    Vehicular Battery
    Parental Kidnapping
    1st Degree Rape
    2nd Degree Rape
    3rd Degree Rape
    Attempted Rape
    Sexual Contact with a Child Under 16
    Failure of Convicted Sex Offender to Register
    Indecent Exposure
    Child Abuse
    Elder Abuse
    Aggravated Assault
    Simple Assault
    Simple Assault on Law Enforcement
    Causing Bodily Fluids to Come in Contact with a Correction Officer
    Threatening a Constitutional Officer
    Commission of a Felony while Armed with a Firearm
    Possession of a Concealed Weapon
    Shooting a Firearm at an Occupied Vehicle
    Eluding Law Enforcement
    Making a False Bomb Threat
    Habitual Offender
    1st Degree Robbery
    2nd Degree Robbery
    Burning to Defraud an Insurance Company
    Grand Theft
    Aggravated Grand Theft Over $100,000
    Grand Theft by Embezzlement
    Grand Theft by Deception
    Grand Theft from a Disabled Adult
    Grand Theft by NSF Check
    Theft of a Controlled Substance
    Petty Theft
    Identity Theft
    Destruction or Sale of Mortgaged Property
    1st Degree Burglary
    2nd Degree Burglary
    3rd Degree Burglary
    Attempted Burglary
    Distribution of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine)
    Distribution of a Controlled Substance (Cocaine)
    Possession of a Controlled Substance
    Ingestion of a Controlled Substance
    Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Forgery
    Distribution of Marijuana
    Conspiracy to Distribute Over 1 lb. of Marijuana
    Possession of More than 10 lbs. of Marijuana
    Possession of 1-10 lbs. of Marijuana
    Possession of Marijuana Less Than 2 oz.
    Distribution of Drug Paraphernalia
    Felony Intentional Damage to Property
    Driving Under the Influence (Misdemeanor)
    Driving Under the Influence (Felony)

    Prosecutor of the Year

  • Cold Cases

    Prosecuting A Cold Case Murder

    The Murder of David Rose

    In 2002 John Fitzgerald prosecuted one of South Dakota’s oldest unsolved murders that occurred in Lawrence County. David Rose was beaten to death on Mount Roosevelt, near the outskirts of Deadwood in 1982. Twenty years later using the most advanced fingerprint technology available, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Detective Brian Dean (now Sheriff) and Detective Randall Rosenau (retired) received a match from the FBI to a fingerprint on a beer can left at the crime scene. The fingerprint came back to Fred Alan Bates (AKA Thomas John Dalton Bates).

    Bates was subsequently arrested by the US Marshals in Illinois. Bates later entered a guilty plea to first degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. The cable television channel A&E featured this case on their program “Cold Case Files.”

    Working together with law enforcement as a team, Fitzgerald and law enforcement were able to dust off an old file and solve a cold case homicide using ever evolving technology. This brought closure to David Rose’s family and held Bates accountable for the crime he committed.


    Lawrence County Cold Case

    Lawrence County has a cold case murder that still needs to be solved. February 19, 2000, two trappers found skeletal remains in a remote area four miles north of St. Onge. The remains were located under two seven foot planks. Forensics indicated that the unidentified man was murdered sometime in the fall of 1999. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.


    In July of 2015, Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald and Attorney General Marty Jackley with the assistance of new technology, made public 3-D images of what the unidentified man looked like prior to his death. Jackley and Fitzgerald had hoped that someone would recognize the man and bring new life to the investigation in an effort to solve this unsolved murder.

    Fitzgerald has said, “it is the obligation of the living to speak for those whose voices have been silenced by murder.”


    Law enforcement authorities believe the victim was 20-25 years old, 5’7” inches tall, had dark hair, and was of mixed race with Native American ancestry. Additionally, the victim had a pronounced overbite and may have walked with a limp or had a slight bend to his back due to possible back problems. The victim was found wearing an XL size Bill Blass brand lightweight jacket, green in color with purple horizontal stripes; an XL size Brittania brand short sleeved shirt with purple and blue stripes; Wrangler brand blue jeans; a belt with buckle; size 30 “Stubbies” swimming trunks, tan in color; Hanes brand white underwear, and size 9 Spalding tennis shoes.


    To this day, this murder remains unsolved. If anyone has any information in regard to this unsolved murder, please contact theLawrence County Sheriff’s Office at 605-578-2230.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What Motivated You to Become a Prosecuting Attorney?

    My father, John E. Fitzgerald, a lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts was nearly murdered by the mafia in a car bombing when I was twelve years old. My father lost his right leg as a result of the bombing. The silver lining is my family relocated to South Dakota and this event motivated me to become a prosecuting attorney. I work to protect the rights of victims. Violent criminals should be locked up to protect the innocent and the community. We need to emphasize protecting victims, and our community, and less concern for the rights of criminals

    Why does law enforcement strongly support you?

    Working as a full-time working States Attorney, I share a common goal with law enforcement of keeping the public safe. Working together is integral in building a successful team. We have children, grandchildren, friends, and family residing in our community. Together we share a vested interest in keeping our community a safe and desirable place to live, work, and raise families. As a team, we work with state and federal law enforcement agencies to solve crimes. By working together as a team, we have been able to achieve an overall conviction rate of approximately 90% in Lawrence County. As a cohesive unit we are currently battling the influx of methamphetamine and heroin in Lawrence County along with the multitude of crimes associated from drug menace.

    Law enforcement understands the serious nature of their profession. They want an experienced and skilled prosecutor in charge. As the Lawrence County States Attorney I have built a reputation as a tough but fair prosecutor with my years of experience and hundreds of successful trials. I have been a successful team leader with proven results.

    What are the most important issues that need to be addressed in South Dakota communities?

    All communities in South Dakota suffer from the crimes and effects associated with hard drugs. We need to strengthen the deterrent effect of our criminal sanctions. Laws now mandate probation for felony crimes like possession of methamphetamine and heroin, third degree burglary, grand theft, repeated third and fourth drunk driving offenses. As a result, this has taken a judge’s sentencing discretion away and has made law enforcement’s job much more difficult.

  • The Campaign Trail


  • Photos

    John with officers from the Whitewood Police Department at the D.A.R.E. Graduation.