John Hinckley, man who shot President Reagan, granted release

by: Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated:

WASHINGTON - A federal judge has granted a request to release John Hinckley, the man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981, from custody, according to multiple reports.

 
Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ruled that Hinckley could be released as early as next week from the mental hospital where he's lived for years, NPR reported. He will be required to live full-time with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, for at least one year.
 
Doctors responsible for Hinckley's treatment last year asked that the 61-year-old be allowed to leave St. Elizabeth's Hospital for good, according to CBS News.
 
"This case is not about the merits of whether an individual should be able to shoot four people, including a sitting U.S. president, and then be able to spend the last third of his life a free man," the news station reported. "The hospital believes he is ready for this next step to independent living and is required by law to advocate for his release."
 
A number of conditions were tacked on to his release, according to NPR.
 
"Hinckley is not allowed to contact his victims, their relatives or actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed," NPR reported. "Hinckley also will not be permitted to 'knowingly travel' to areas where the current president or members or Congress are present."
 
Friedman also ordered Hinckley abstain from alcohol or drugs and forbade him from possessing any weapon under the threat of arrest.
 
Hinckley shot Reagan and three others in Washington, D.C., during an assassination attempt on March 30, 1981. He told authorities that he was trying to impress Foster, with whom he had become obsessed.
 
Reagan suffered a gunshot wound to his chest but recovered. There were no fatalities, although White House press secretary James Brady was paralyzed. A Secret Service agent and a Washington, D.C., police officer were also injured.
 
Hinckley was found not guilty in 1982 by reason of insanity and was confined to St. Elizabeth's Hospital.
 
Hinckley's release has been more than a decade in the making. In late 2003, the judge allowed Hinckley to begin leaving the hospital for day visits with his parents in the Washington area.
 
In 2006, Hinckley began visiting his parents' home for three-night stretches. That time has increased over the years so that for more than the last year he has been allowed to spend 17 days a month at the home, which is in a gated community and overlooks a golf course. Reagan himself died in 2004 at the age of 93.
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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