Wednesday July 27, 2016 – John W. Hinckley Jr., will be released from a government psychiatric hospital more than 35 years after he attempted to assassinate president Ronald Reagan and shot three others outside the Washington Hilton on March 30, 1981, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
Hinckley, 61, no longer poses a danger to himself or others and will be freed to live full-time with his mother in Williamsburg, Va., effective as soon as Aug. 5subject to dozens of temporary treatment and monitoring conditions, U.S. District Judge Paul L Friedman of Washington wrote.
If Hinckley adheres to all restrictions, they could begin to be phased out after 12 to 18 months, removing him from court control for the first time since he was confined to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital after the shooting, according to the order.
Hinckley lived at hospital full time until the 1990s, when he was permitted supervised visits with family members that gradually have been extended to 17 days a month at the home of his 90-year-old mother in a gated golf course development.
“After thirty-four years as an inpatient at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and in view of the foregoing findings, and the successful completion of over 80 . . . visits to Williamsburg over the last 10 years, the Court finds that Mr. Hinckley has received the maximum benefits possible in the inpatient setting,” Friedman wrote in a 103-page opinion. “The court finds by the preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Hinckley will not be a danger to himself or to others if released on full-time convalescent leave to Williamsburg under the conditions proposed.”
If Hinckley relapses or violates the terms of his release, he could be returned to St. Elizabeth’s, the judge ordered.
The order limits Hinckley to a 50-mile radius of Williamsburg, Va., requires him to turn over information about his mobile phone and vehicles he will be driving, and bars him from tampering with the browser history of his computer, uploading any content to the Internet, or accessing social media without unanimous approval of his treatment team. It does not order him to wear an ankle-monitoring device.