September 27, 2021
John Hinckley, who shot President Ronald Reagan, has won unconditional release (Pictures: AP/Getty Images)
By Isabel Keane | Metro
An agreement has been reached for the ‘unconditional release’ from supervision of John Hinckley Jr, who shot former President Ronald Reagan.
A federal judge on Monday approved the release next year for Hinckley, who wounded the late president and three others outside a Washington, DC, hotel in 1981, during a failed assassination attempt.
The now 66-year-old has been living outside a mental health facility for the last several years as a result of a gradual lightening of supervision, NPR reported.
Hinckley will be freed of all his remaining restrictions if he continues to follow those rules and remains mentally stable.
His attorney said the ‘momentous event’ of his full release, to come in June 2022, is both appropriate and required by the law.
‘There is no evidence of danger whatsoever,’ said Barry Wm Levine.
The Department of Justice agreed to a settlement but will still monitor Hinckley for the next nine months because he is living on his own for the first time in 40 years, and because one of his primary doctors will be retiring and disbanding his therapy group.
The Justice Department said it will file a motion with the court prior to June if new concerns about Hinckley appear.
Senior US District Judge Paul Friedman pointed out that ‘very few patients at St Elizabeths Hospital have been studied more thoroughly than John Hinckley’, NPR reported.
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982 after being on trial a year earlier for the shooting.
He shot at Reagan, White House Press Secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington Metropolitan Police officer Thomas Delahanty.
He was committed to St Elizabeths Hospital, where he lived for more than three decades. In 2003, his restrictions began to lessen. Five years ago, he moved in with his mother, who died in her sleep earlier this summer aged 95.
Last year, the Department of Behavioral Health proposed a release for Hinckley with no conditions, telling the court he posed ‘low risk for future violence’.
The department reiterated that proposal earlier this year.