A judge has released John Hinckley, Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster. He must live with his mother in Williamsburg, VA.
U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman said the 61-year-old “no longer poses a danger to himself or others.”
Last year, doctors at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital urged officials “to grant him a form of permanent leave.” From CBS News:
CBS News’ Paula Reid reports St. Elizabeth’s Hospital has a constitutional obligation to transition patients to outpatient care when they are ready. This case is not about the merits of whether an individual should be able to shoot four people, including a sitting U.S. President, and then be able to spend the last third of his life a free man. The hospital believes he is ready for this next step to independent living and is required by law to advocate for his release.
Judge Friedman gave him “partial leave” back in 2013, which allowed him to spend 17 days a month at his mother’s house. The judge also insisted Hinckley still cannot speak to any media:
“After thirty-four years as an impatient at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and in view of the foregoing findings, and the successful completion of over 80 … visits to Williamsburg over the last 10 years, the Court finds that Mr. Hinckley has received the maximum benefits possible in the in-patient setting,” Friedman wrote in a 103-page opinion. “The court finds by the preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Hinckley will not be a danger to himself or to others if released on full-time convalescent leave to Williamsburg under the conditions proposed.”
Hinckley opened fire on President Reagan on March 30, 1981. A bullet punctured a lung, but missed his heart. Another bullet left White House Press Secretary James Brady “paralyzed from the waist down.”
The police tackled Hinckley to the ground and promptly arrested him. Hinckley also wrote to Foster, explaining he did it for her:
“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.”
The jury found Hinckley “not guilty by reason of insanity.” This caused an uproar, which led the government “government and 38 states subsequently rewrote laws to raise the standard of proof required for the insanity defense, which is now rarely used and is even more rarely successful.”
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