Man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan to be released from psychiatric hospital

Local News
The man who was responsible for the shooting of one of America’s most beloved presidents has been granted release from a psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C.
On March 30, 1981, Oklahoma native John Hinckley, Jr., attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan as he left the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., after he addressed the AFL-CIO conference.
Hinckley shot at President Reagan with a .22 caliber Röhm RG-14 six times. Although a bullet didn’t directly hit President Reagan, he was struck in the chest as a bullet ricocheted off the side of the presidential limo.
In addition to President Reagan, Hinckley wounded police officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy and White House Press Secretary James Brady. Brady was shot in the head and was paralyzed on the left side of his body for the remainder of this life. Brad died on August 4, 2014, and his death was ruled a homicide, as he was “critically wounded” in the shooting.
Officials say Hinckley’s assassination attempt on President Reagan was part of a plan to impress actress Jodie Foster.
Hinckley was charged with 13 crimes following the shooting, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C. He was also not charged after Brady died due to the earlier verdict. 

In October 1984, following public outrage over Hinckley’s acquittal, The Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984 was signed into law. It was the first comprehensive Federal legislation governing the insanity defense and the disposition of individuals suffering from a mental disease or defect who are involved in the criminal justice system.
The more significant provisions:
1) Significantly modified the standard for insanity previously applied in the Federal courts
2) Placed the burden of proof on the defendant to establish the defense by clear and convincing evidence
3) Limited the scope of expert testimony on ultimate legal issues
4) Eliminated the defense of diminished capacity
5) Created a special verdict of “not guilty only by reason of insanity,” which triggers a commitment proceeding
6) Provided for Federal commitment of persons who become insane after having been found guilty or while serving a Federal prison sentence
In the opinion signed by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman on Wednesday, the court granted the psychiatric hospital’s proposal for “full-time convalescent leave, rejecting or modifying some of the hospital’s proposed conditions and adding others proposed by the government and the expert witnesses, or devised by the Court itself in view of its findings and conclusions.”
“Specifically, the Court will allow Mr. Hinckley to reside full-time in Williamsburg, Virginia, on convalescent leave,” the order states.
In the order Judge Friedman says experts and treatment providers say Hinckley’s “major depression and psychotic disorders are in full and sustained remission and have been for more than 20 years.”

According to the court, for the first six months to a year of Hinckley’s release, he should not have access to any website or search for any information relating to his crimes, victims, weapons or hardcore pornography. This will be modified following the probationary period if Hinckley’s medical team finds it “clinically appropriate.”
Hinckley also must get pre-approval to publish his photographs, paintings or writings on the Internet, even if done anonymously, as “the notoriety fame issue is a part of his pathology.”
The order also states the court finds no evidence that Hinckley presents a danger to himself or others. 

To read the full order from the court, click here.

Following the announcement of Hinckley’s soon-to-be release, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute issued the following statement:

“John Hinckley is responsible for the shooting of President Reagan and three other brave men. One died two years ago from the wounds he received. Contrary to the judge’s decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release. They are all lives that matter dearly to us”

*Editor’s Note: A picture of Officer Thomas Delahanty was unavailable.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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