The Man Who Tried To Assassinate Ronald Reagan Will Be Released After 35 Years
A federal judge ruled that John Hinckley Jr. is no longer a threat to himself or society.
(BuzzFeedNews) -A federal judge ordered Wednesday that John Hinckley Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate former President Ronald Reagan and shot three people in 1981, be freed from psychiatric hospital care after 35 years of detainment.
Hinckley, now 61 years old, will live under the care of his 90-year-old mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, from as early as August 5, US District Judge Paul Friedman ordered in the ruling. [restrict]
“It is fair to say that the lives of few people have been scrutinized with the care and detail that John Hinckley’s has been,” Friedman wrote. “Indeed, it is difficult for the Court to imagine a more thorough evidentiary and clinical record on which to base a conclusion as to whether a specific person will present a danger to himself or others in the reasonable future.”
In a lengthy ruling, the judge concluded “the Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Hinckley presents no danger to himself or to others in the reasonable future if released on full-time convalescent leave to Williamsburg under the conditions proposed by the hospital.”
Additional restrictions laid out by the judge could be employed as soon as 12 months after Hinckley’s release.
Hinckley was 25 years old when he attempted to fatally shoot Reagan outside the Washington Hilton hotel, wounding the former president. He also seriously injured press secretary James Brady, US Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, and DC police officer Thomas Delahanty.
All of the men survived the attack, but Brady, whom Hinckley shot in the head, was left paralyzed and later died from the gunshot wound in 2014.
Hinckley later admitted to authorities that he attempted to kill the president in order to impress Jodie Foster, with whom he had become obsessed after her film Taxi Driver. The movie’s male protagonist tries to win the heart of a woman, played by Foster, by attempting to assassinate a presidential candidate.
His trial, in which he was up against 13 charges, took seven weeks. A federal jury ultimately found him not guilty by reason of insanity on June 21, 1982, a decision that sparked a legal debate nationwide about the conditions under which an insanity defense should be considered.
As a result, 38 states amended their laws to increase the standard of proof for the insanity defense, according to the Washington Post.
In his ruling, Friedman spoke about Hinckley’s deteriorating health as he explained his reasoning for his release. [/restrict]