Man who shot President Reagan to be released
A federal judge on Wednesday granted John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, “full-time covalescent leave” from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. The order allows Hinckley, Jr. to live full-time in Williamsburg, Virginia, but still under certain restrictions.
Here’s a look at the life of John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity:
Personal: Birth date: May 29, 1955
Birth place: Ardmore, Oklahoma
Birth name: John Warnock Hinckley Jr.
Father: John W. Hinckley Sr., an oil exploration business owner
Mother: Jo Ann (Moore) Hinckley
Education: Attended Texas Tech University for seven years
Other Facts: Stalked actress Jodie Foster for a time and says he was trying to impress her with the Reagan assassination attempt. He says he became obsessed with her after seeing her in the movie “Taxi Driver,” in which the main character tries to assassinate a U.S. senator.
Whenever he leaves the hospital, Hinckley carries a GPS-equipped cell phone and is sometimes followed by Secret Service agents.
Timeline: October 9, 1980 – Hinckley is arrested at Nashville International Airport for possession of three firearms. President Jimmy Carter is in town that same day.
March 30, 1981 – At 2:25 pm EST, President Ronald Reagan comes out of the Hilton Hotel in Washington. Hinckley is waiting for him in the crowd and begins shooting. One bullet hits Reagan in his left lung. Also injured are Press Secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy J. McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas K. Delahanty. Brady is shot in the head and partially paralyzed. Hinckley is handcuffed moments after firing six shots at Reagan from almost point-blank range.
March 31, 1981 – The federal government formally charges Hinckley with attempting to assassinate the president and assaulting a Secret Service officer.
May 27, 1981 – Takes a Tylenol overdose in an attempt to harm himself.
August 28, 1981 – At his arraignment, Hinckley pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to a 13-count indictment.
November 15, 1981 – Hinckley tries to commit suicide a second time by hanging himself with an article of clothing.
May 4, 1982 – Trial begins.
June 21, 1982 – Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity. He is committed to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington.
February 13, 1983 – Hinckley makes a third suicide attempt since the shooting, this time by an overdose of antidepressant medication.
1985 – Hinckley’s parents establish a non-profit organization called the American Mental Health Fund, to raise money for mental health research.
1985 – Hinckley’s doctors report his condition to be in “full remission.”
1986 – Hinckley makes a brief, supervised visit to his see parents.
January 15, 1999 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Washington rules that Hinckley can make supervised trips out of the hospital, accompanied by hospital personnel.
August 12, 1999 – Hinckley makes a brief, supervised visit outside of the hospital.
April 11, 2000 – Representatives at St. Elizabeths Hospital recommend allowing Hinckley unsupervised visits with family.
June 29, 2000 – The hospital withdraws its recommendation for unsupervised visits to Hinckley’s parents’ Williamsburg, Virginia, home following a hearing in which prosecutors provide evidence of Hinckley’s continued interest in violent books and music.
December 17, 2003 – A judge rules that Hinckley will be allowed limited, unsupervised daytime visits with his parents within a 50-mile radius of Washington.
December 30, 2005 – U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman rules that Hinckley will be allowed three visits of three nights each to his parents’ home in Williamsburg, Virginia, unaccompanied by hospital staff. Hinckley “is not permitted to leave one or both parents’ supervision at any time.”
April 16, 2007 – A hearing begins on whether to increase the length of Hinckley’s visits to his parents to two and four weeks at a time.
June 2007 – A judge rules that Hinckley may make six-night visits to his parent’s home in Virginia, but longer visits are denied until the hospital submits a more detailed proposal of Hinckley’s schedule.
February 2008 – Hinckley is allowed to attend his father’s funeral in Williamsburg, Virginia.
June 2009 – Judge Friedman increases the length of Hinckley’s visits home to 10 days 12 times per year. Hinckley is also authorized to obtain a driver’s license. The judge agrees he is not a danger to himself or others under the proper conditions.
May 2011 – Judge Friedman approves Hinckley’s request for additional unsupervised visits to his mother’s home in Virginia.
July 29, 2011 – St. Elizabeths Hospital asks the court to allow Hinckley two 17-day visits followed by six stays lasting 24 days. After the proposed visits, St. Elizabeths requests the authority to decide whether Hinckley could be released on “convalescent leave,” which would make him a permanent outpatient.
September 30, 2011 – The government files a motion in opposition of the hospital’s request for expanded conditions of Hinckley’s release.
November 30, 2011 – A hearing begins which may determine whether to eventually free Hinckley from a mental hospital.
February 9, 2012 – Hinckley’s hearing on expanded visitations and possible eventual release ends.
August 17, 2012 – Prosecutors on the Hinckley case file a motion asking Judge Paul Friedman to reject the proposal for more visitation time because People’s Place treatment facility had dropped out of a plan calling for Hinckley to participate in social group sessions.
February 25-28, 2013 – A hearing on St. Elizabeths Hospital’s request for Hinckley’s expanded visits and possible eventual release is held. The hospital proposes Hinckley attend social group sessions with a psychotherapist and see another specialist in lieu of the group sessions at People’s Place mental health facility that were withdrawn in August 2012.
December 20, 2013 – A federal judge agrees to let Hinckley have expanded conditional release from a Washington psychiatric hospital, where he currently has been detained. Judge Paul Friedman said Hinckley is allowed 17-day periods of off-campus visits to his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia—up from the current 10-day visits.
August 4, 2014 – Former Reagan Press Secretary James Brady dies at the age of 73.
August 8, 2014 – A Virginia medical examiner rules Brady’s death a homicide. Police tell CNN that authorities are investigating the death.
January 2, 2015 – The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia releases a statement that they will not pursue murder charges against Hinckley for the death of James Brady.
April 22, 2015 – John Hinckley Jr. makes a request in federal court for what his family calls his “unconditional release” from the mental facility at which he’s been living for the past three decades. If granted, he will live with his mother full time in Williamsburg, Virginia.