Rolling Out

Man who tried to kill President Reagan to be released

Former US President Ronald Reagan (Photo Credit: Official Portrait)
Former President Ronald Reagan (Official portrait)

Almost 35 years ago, America was shocked when would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr., opened fire on President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Hinckley shot Reagan and three others, including then-Press Secretary James Brady who died in 2014 due to complications from his injuries. President Reagan’s injuries lift him hospitalized and in critical condition, but he eventually recovered.

In June 1982, Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and he was sentenced to a mental institution. Hinckley has been treated at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., for the last 30 years for major depression and narcissistic personality disorders; he also attempted suicide three times in the 1990s

A federal judge has issued an order that will allow Hinckley, now 61, “full-time convalescent leave.” He will be allowed to live in a gated community in Williamsburg, Virginia, with his 90-year-old mother. He will, however, have restrictions on his movement and access to the internet, and forms of communication.

Before the attempted assassination of President Reagan, Hinckley stalked actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley became obsessed with the actress after seeing her in Taxi Driver, which had a plot of a man trying to assassinate a U.S. senator. He told police that by assassinating Reagan, he had hoped to impress the actress.

Over the years Hinckley was allowed limited release and visitation with his family with increasing frequency. In 2015, his lawyers filed a motion for his release from the mental facility which met with opposition from the Reagan family. “I hope the doctors are right when they say that John Hinckley isn’t a danger to anyone but something in me feels they are wrong,” Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, wrote at the time.

Hinckley will face lifetime monitoring by the Secret Service.

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