WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled this morning that John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, should be freed from court-imposed restrictions including overseeing his medical care and keeping up with his computer passwords, according to NPR.
The release will be final in June 2022. The Department of Justice requested the extension due to major changes in Hinckley’s life, including living on his own for the first time in many years and his therapy group disbanding.
Since Hinckley, 66, moved to Williamsburg from a Washington hospital in 2016, the court-imposed conditions had included doctors and therapists overseeing his psychiatric medication and deciding how often he attends individual and group therapy sessions. Hinckley also can’t have a gun. And he can’t contact Reagan’s children, other victims or their families, or actress Jodie Foster, who he was obsessed with at the time of the 1981 shooting.
Attorney Barry Levine haed asked for unconditional release, saying Hinckley no longer poses a threat. A 2020 violence risk assessment conducted on behalf of Washington’s Department of Behavioral Health concluded that Hinckley would not pose a danger.
The U.S. government opposed ending restrictions as of a May court filing, and retained an expert to determine whether or not Hinckley would pose a danger to himself or others if unconditionally released. Findings from such an examination have not been filed in court.
Hinckley was 25 when he shot and wounded the 40th U.S. president outside a Washington hotel. The shooting paralyzed Reagan press secretary James Brady, who died in 2014. It also injured Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty.
Jurors decided Hinckley was suffering from acute psychosis and found him not guilty by reason of insanity, saying he needed treatment and not life in prison.
NPR contributed to this story
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