Reagan shooter John Hinckley Jr. to be released from mental hospital

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday granted John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, “full-time convalescent leave” from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

Hinckley fired a gun as President Reagan’s entourage as he left the Washington Hilton on March 30, 1981. Reagan was shot along with three others, including Press Secretary James Brady, who died from his injuries in 2014.

Since a jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity, Hinckley has lived at the mental hospital.  He has slowly gained some freedoms since he was incarcerated. In 2003, he was allowed day visits with his family, and since then has been granted longer visits. For the past two years, he’s been allowed to spend 17 days a month in his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis has opposed letting Hinckley gain additional freedoms.

“I hope the doctors are right when they say that John Hinckley isn’t a danger to anyone but something in me feels they are wrong,” she wrote on her website last year.

Wednesday’s order allows Hinckley to live full-time in Williamsburg, but still under certain restrictions.

Some of the more the conditions include:

  • Hinckley will not be able to publicly display, physically or on the internet, any memorabilia, writings, paintings, photographs, artwork, or music created by him without approval from his doctors.
  • Participation in “individual music therapy sessions” at least once a month and in “structured activities in the Williamsburg area,” including volunteer work is required.
  • Hinckley or his family members will not be allowed to have any contact with the media and he cannot communicate with anyone about his offense via mail, phone or any electronic communication.
  • He can only reside with his mother in Williamsburg for at least the first year of his release. After one year, he may reside on his own or with roommates within 30 miles of Williamsburg.
  • He must carry a GPS enabled phone and can only drive within 30 miles of Williamsburg in a pre-approved vehicle.
  • There will be no contact allowed with Jodie Foster, Reagan family members, James Brady family members, Thomas Delahanty and family members, Timothy McCarthy and family members, Jeanette Wick and family members.
  • No travel is allowed in any areas where current or former Presidents, VP’s, Congress members, Executive Branch senior members, or Secret Service protectees reside.
  • Hinckley cannot have any drugs, alcohol, illegal substances, or weapons and must keep a daily log of his activities.

After Hinkley has been free for a year to 18 months, an updated risk assessment will be performed to determine whether his progress has continued. If there are no new areas of concern, some of his conditions may be reduced.

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