Would-be Reagan assassin released from
Send a link to a friend
[September 12, 2016]
By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Would-be presidential
assassin John Hinckley Jr. was released from a psychiatric hospital on
Saturday, media reports said, 35 years after he shot U.S. President
Ronald Reagan in an attack prompted by a deranged obsession with the
actress Jodie Foster.
Hinckley, 61, is moving in with his elderly mother in a gated community
in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he has been making increasingly long
furlough visits in recent years under the watchful eyes of the U.S.
A federal judge in July ordered Hinckley's release from St. Elizabeth's
Hospital in Washington, finding that he no longer posed a danger to
himself or to others. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of
insanity at a 1982 trial and was diagnosed with depression and
psychosis, both of which are now in remission, according to his doctors.
Local media, including The Washington Post, reported that Hinckley was
officially released from St. Elizabeth's on Saturday, when he had been
scheduled to be freed. A hospital employee who answered the phone on
Saturday said she could not comment on patients to the media.
Residents of the town have seemed largely unfazed by the prospect of
Hinckley's release, though some have expressed wariness.
As a 25-year-old college dropout, Hinckley had grown fixated upon Foster
and the Martin Scorsese film "Taxi Driver," in which she played a
Inspired by the film's main character, who plots to kill a presidential
candidate, Hinckley opened fire on Reagan outside a Washington, D.C.,
hotel on March 30, 1981, in a misguided effort to win Foster's
Reagan suffered a punctured lung but recovered quickly. His press
secretary, James Brady, was left permanently disabled and eventually
died of his injuries in 2014.
[to top of second column]
John Hinckley Jr. arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. District
Court in Washington D.C. November 19, 2003. REUTERS/Brendan
The shooting left its mark in a number of ways. The Brady shooting
helped launch the modern gun control movement, and a 1993 bill named
after him imposed background checks and a waiting period.
Hinckley's verdict, meanwhile, led several states to rewrite their
laws to make insanity defenses more difficult, and the Secret
Service toughened its security procedures following the
Hinckley's release has dozens of conditions attached, including a
requirement that he work or volunteer at least three days a week,
limit his travel, allow law enforcement to track his movements and
continue meeting with a psychiatrist.
The Reagan family issued a statement in July strongly opposing
Hinckley's release. Foster has declined to comment on Hinckley since
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.