The man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan 35 years ago is now free.
John Hinckley Jr. has arrived "at his mother's Virginia home after being freed for good" from a mental hospital where he's lived for decades, The Associated Press reported. A federal judge granted his request for convalescent leave in July.
"On March 30, 1981, outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, a shaggy-haired Hinckley aimed his gun at President Ronald Reagan and fired six times," as NPR's Carrie Johnson reported. "Reagan spent nearly two weeks in the hospital recovering from wounds and blood loss. His press secretary, James Brady, was shot in the head. Brady survived but spent the next 28 years in a wheelchair. A year after the attack, a court found the perpetrator, Hinckley, not guilty by reason of insanity."
Reagan's daughter Patti Davis recently told NPR she thought the "verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity was a bad verdict." And after the judge's ruling in July, as Carrie reported, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute said "contrary to the judge's decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release."
Hinckley, who is 61, has been inching toward freedom for years, as Carrie reported:
"Saint Elizabeths Hospital says he no longer presents a danger to himself or others. Doctors report his depression and psychosis are in full remission. In court, his lawyer described a man who plays guitar, goes to movies and browses in bookstores.
"Hinckley already spends 17 days each month with his mother in the Kingsmill resort community in Williamsburg."
His lawyer Barry Levine told The Associated Press that he thinks Hinckley will be a "citizen about whom we can all be proud."
Hinckley will be tightly restricted, especially during the first year after his release. The court set numerous terms, including limitations on his movement and multiple court-mandated appointments for treatment every month.
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