34 years after trying to assasinate Ronald Reagan in 1981, John Hinckley, Jr will be released from a psychiatric hospital and allowed to live with his mother in Virginia.
On Wednesday, a federal judge granted John Hinckley, Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan, full-time release from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he has been in treatment since the shooting. Judge Paul L. Friedman delivered the ruling Wednesday, granting him full time convalescent leave to begin no sooner than Aug. 5.
According to the WSJ, the 103-page order from U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said Mr. Hinckley’s doctors have found he has "no signs of psychotic symptoms, delusional thinking, or any violent tendencies,’’ and therefore “presents no danger to himself or to others in the reasonable future if released." The ruling means that 34 years after an attack that severely wounded the president and three others, Mr. Hinckley will be a free man—albeit with restrictions on his travel, communications, work and use of the internet.
Hinckley, 61, was committed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. Over the past 12 years, his doctors and the courts have been gradually loosening his restrictions, over objections from the Justice Department, allowing him to go to Williamsburg, Va., for unsupervised visits with his family more than 80 times.
Now Hinckley will be allowed to live with his mother there, provided he still has regular medical and social-work checkups, works or volunteers at least three days a week and adheres to limits on his travel and communication. The judge’s order also specifically bars Mr. Hinckley or his family from talking to reporters.
He's already been spending 17 days per month at his mother's home since federal judge Paul Friedman granted him partial leave from the hospital in 2013. CBS News' Reid reports the conditions of Hinckley's release are incredibly detailed and strict, which is a big win for the U.S. government. While the requirements focus mostly on continued mental health treatment, Hinckley's lawyer had been arguing for minimal conditions to make it less likely he will be found in non-compliance.
Some of the conditions of his release include:
- He must carry a GPS enabled phone whenever he is away from his mother's home, but no tracking devices need to be installed in his cars. He must notify his treatment team before going to any private residences.
- He must travel to D.C. once a month for mental health treatment. His must provide detailed information about his travel to D.C. including his specific route and time of departure, but he can travel by himself. If he is delayed by more than 30 minutes, he needs to notify his treatment team.
- He must have weekly phone calls with his health care professionals as well as individual and group therapy in Williamsburg. He also does monthly music therapy sessions. He has expressed an interest in recording an album.
- He is expected to find a volunteer position or a job which must be approved by his mental health team.
- He cannot speak with media. Any media contact by him or his family will constitute a violation of his release.
- No drugs, no weapons.
- No contact with the family members of his victims, which include the Reagan family, Brady family, Thomas Delahanty or Timothy McCarthy.
- He cannot travel to areas where current or former presidents, Congress or senior executives or "United States Secret Service protectees" are found.
- He can use the internet but cannot Google himself, research weapons, porn, or his victims.
- He may not set-up any social media accounts without unanimous permission from his treatment team.
- He must live with his mother in Williamsburg for the first-year of his full-time release and after that, following an assessment by his team, he may reside alone or with roommates within a 30 mile radius of Williamsburg
He is also forbidden from trying to contact his victims or any of their relatives or descendants, and he is barred from trying to contact the actress Jodie Foster or her family. At the time of the Reagan shooting, Hinckley was obsessed with Ms. Foster and hoped the assassination would impress her.
On March 30, 1981, Hinckley opened fire outside a Washington, D.C. hotel as then-President Reagan was exiting the building after a speech. One of the bullets punctured the president's lung and barely missed his heart. Another left then-White House press secretary James Brady paralyzed from the waist down.
In a letter the would-be assassin sent before the shooting, Hinckley confessed his bizarre motive to Jodie Foster, whom he'd been stalking for months.
"The reason I'm going ahead with this attempt now is because I cannot wait any longer to impress you," he wrote. "This letter is being written only an hour before I leave for the Hilton Hotel. Jodie, I'm asking you to please look into your heart and at least give the chance, with this historical deed, to gain your love and respect."
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He is now, supposedly, sane and no longer a threat to republican presidents... or presidential candidates.