John Hinckley Jr. is the man who attempted to assassinate former US President Ronald Reagan. The would-be assassin was found not guilty in court by reason of insanity. Today, Hinckley spends his time at St.Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital in Washington.
The now 58-year-old Hinckley, attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981 in an effort to impress a teen actress. Apart from seriously wounding Reagan, White House press secretary James Brady, Police officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy were all shot in the attack. They all survived.
Yesterday, a federal judge allowed Hinckley more days to visit his elderly mother in Williamsburg, VA. Before the judges ruling, Hinckley was restricted to only 10 days of visitation per month but he has now been granted 7 more days.
In a 106-page opinion, district Judge Paul Friedman said he was convinced that Hinckley would not endanger the lives of others and himself if he spends more hours away from the institution. However, Hinckley must prove to the court that he can better socialize and integrate himself in Williamsburg before granting him further visitation time.
The judge further noted that more visits to Williamsburg could offer Hinckley new employment opportunities and “structured community activities” than are available to him at the hospitals. The hospital is required to send regular reports to the court outlining his activities and movements while Hinckley is away in Williamsburg.
Nonetheless, this will not bring Hinckley’s case to a close. There have been legal debates over what should be done with Hinckley’s case with his doctors urging the judge to gradually expand Hinckley’s freedom and eventually give him total freedom. However, the judge wrote that it would not be wise to grant Hinckley further freedom without further evaluation.
Apparently there is still some question as to his trustworthiness. The judge gave an example where Hinckley had recently lied about watching two movies and also noted that he had not yet established any new associations to any groups or made any friendships in Williamsburg.
Watch the assassination attempt of President Reagan as it happened in 1981
Image via Wikipedia