John Hinckley Jr. to Be Freed 35 Years After Attempting to Assassinate Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan / AP
July 27, 2016

John Hinckley Jr. will be released from a federal mental hospital 35 years after he attempted to assassinate former President Ronald Reagan.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. determined Wednesday that Hinckley, 61, is no longer a threat to himself or others. He will be released to live full-time with his mother in Williamsburg, Va., as early as next week.

The court order prohibits Hinckley from contacting his victims, their relatives, and actress Jodie Foster, who he had developed an obsession with. Hinckley will be bound to a 50-mile radius from Williamsburg and is barred from "knowingly" traveling to locations where there are current presidents or member of Congress.

Hinckley will also be barred from accessing social media, consuming alcohol, and possessing a firearm.

The judge said Hinckley may be allowed to live on his own after a year, removing the attempted assassin from court control for the first time since the 1981 shooting.

On March 30, 1981, Hinckley fired six shots at then-President Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in an assassination attempt intended to impress Foster.

Reagan was immediately rushed to the hospital and spent nearly two weeks recovering from gun wounds and severe blood loss. His press secretary James Brady was shot in the head and left paralyzed.

Nearly a year after the attack, a federal jury in Washington found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity.

Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, told NPR last year that the court’s not guilty decision was a "bad verdict."

"You can’t say well if he shot the butcher it would be different," Davis said. "He did try to shoot a president. We hold that crime in a different category than we do other attempted murders."

Published under: Ronald Reagan