John Hinckley Jr.: Reagan shooter could be completely free man following psychiatric evaluation

John Hinckley Jr.—the man who attempted to kill sitting President Ronald Reagan in 1981—will undergo a psychological evaluation which could determine whether he’ll be given unconditional freedom after nearly four decades.

Reuters reported that psychologist Mitchell Hugonnet will evaluate Hinckley, 63, at the request of the U.S. District Court. Hugonnet’s findings will influence the court in deciding whether the would-be assassin can leave his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he lives with many restrictions on his travel and contact with society.

Hinckley spent 35 years in a Washington, D.C., psychiatric hospital after launching an unsuccessful assassination attempt that wounded Reagan, officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, and Press Secretary James Brady. Brady was left permanently disabled by the shooting, requiring the use of a wheelchair until his death in August 2014 at age 73. His death was ruled a homicide, according to The Washington Post.

Hinckley was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982. It came to light that Hinckley staged the shooting in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster, then 19, with whom he had become obsessed with. At the time, the “Taxi Driver” actress was tight-lipped about her interaction with Hinckley, only confirming that he sent her letters and that she didn’t contact authorities. Instead, she said the FBI contacted her.

In 2006, Hinckley was granted convalescent leave which allowed him to occasionally leave the psychiatric hospital to visit his parents in Virginia. It was in 2016 when the U.S. District Court released him from the hospital and allowed him to live with his mother.

“It is fair to say the lives of few people have been scrutinized with the care and detail that John Hinckley’s has been,” Judge Paul Friedman wrote in his 103-page decision, according to the New York Daily News.

“[For 27 years,] Mr. Hinckley, by all accounts, has shown no signs of psychotic symptoms, delusional thinking, or any violent tendencies.”

WTOP reported that since his conditional release, Hinckley’s Internet access is heavily moderated and he’s barred from using social media. The 63-year-old also has to work or volunteer three days a week and isn’t allowed to financially benefit from using his notoriety to promote any writing, music or artwork.

Reuters reported that Hinckley made the request for his unconditional freedom on April 30. A hearing which will address the matter is scheduled for December 10.


[Featured image: John Hinckley Jr./FBI Field Office, Washington]