John Hinckley is set to regain his full freedom 40 years after shooting US President Ronald Reagan
John Hinckley Jr, who shot US President Ronald Reagan in 1981, is “no longer a danger to himself or others” and will be released from court supervision this month as scheduled.
- John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity following the assassination of Ronald Reagan
- It is about to be released from all remaining restrictions
- Former would-be assassin plans to go on tour playing his own music
The release will cap Mr Hinckley’s four-decade journey through the legal and mental health systems.
In September, US District Court Judge Paul L Friedman released Mr Hinckley from all remaining restrictions, but said his order would not take effect until June 15.
A final hearing was held on Wednesday to confirm that Mr. Hinckley continues to do well in the Virginia community, where he has lived for years.
Mr Hinckley did not attend the final hearing and the judge made no changes to his plans to give him full freedom of court scrutiny.
“He was scrutinized. He passed all the tests. He is no longer a danger to himself or others,” Judge Friedman told a hearing that lasted about an hour.
He noted that Mr Hinckley, who turned 67 on Sunday, was deeply troubled when he tried to kill the president, coming “very close to doing it”.
Mr Hinckley has shown no signs of active mental illness since the mid-1980s, the judge heard, and has shown no violent behavior or interest in weapons.
“I am confident that Mr. Hinckley will do well in his remaining years,” Judge Friedman said.
Mr Hinckley was confined to a mental hospital in Washington for more than two decades after a jury found him not guilty on account of insanity following the shooting.
The assassination bid was fueled by his obsession with the movie Taxi Driver and its star, Jodie Foster. In the film, the main character at one point tries to kill a presidential candidate.
Mr Hinckley’s longtime solicitor Barry Levine said the case ‘started with a troubled young man who inflicted great damage’ and that ultimately ‘I think we saved a life”.
“Jean worked hard. He wanted to correct something he couldn’t erase, and that’s the best result you could imagine,” Mr. Levine said after the hearing, adding: “His regrets will always be with him in regarding the families of those he injured. .”
The shooting, which took place in March 1981 outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, left the US President with a punctured lung, the bullet stopping about 2 centimeters from his heart.
Mr Reagan recovered but his press secretary, James Brady, who died in 2014, remained partially paralyzed.
Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington Police Officer Thomas Delahanty were also injured.
Mr. Hinckley now plans to pursue a musical career with what he calls the John Hinckley Redemption Tour.
He said on his YouTube channel that he started a record label, Emporia Records, and his first release would be a 14-song CD of his music. He also promotes his music on Twitter.
Mr. Reagan’s foundation issued a statement opposing the lifting of the restrictions.
“The Reagan Foundation and Institute are both saddened and concerned that John Hinckley Jr will soon be unconditionally released and intends to pursue a for-profit musical career,” the statement read.
“We strongly oppose his release into society where he apparently seeks to cash in on his infamy.”