: John Hinckley, who shot Ronald Reagan in 1981, to be granted unconditional release


A federal judge has approved the unconditional release of John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot and wounded President Ronald Reagan in 1981, his attorney told NPR.

Hinckley’s attorney Barry Wm. Levine told NPR that Hinckley has an “excellent” prognosis and “there is no evidence of danger whatsoever.”

Hinckley, 66, is set to be be granted his unconditional release in June 2022.

A jury found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982. Hinckley proceeded to stay at St. Elizabeths Hospital, in Washington, D.C., for more than three decades. In 2016, he was released from the hospital and has been living in Williamsburg, Virginia, at his mother’s house, according to CNN. His mother died in the summer of 2021.

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The court-imposed restrictions Hinckley is currently living under have required doctors and therapists to oversee his psychiatric medication and therapy. Hinckley has been barred from having a gun. And he can’t contact Reagan’s children, other victims or their families, or actress Jodie Foster, whom he said helped “inspire” his assassination attempt in 1981.

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 said he needed treatment and not life in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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