Wednesday, October 5

John Hinckley Jr., who shot Ronald Reagan, set to be unconditionally released on June 15

Washington — John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot and nearly killed President Ronald Reagan in 1981, is set to be unconditionally released from court-ordered psychiatric supervision on June 15, after federal prosecutors, mental health professionals and Hinckley’s legal team told a judge on Wednesday that they have no concerns about his mental state.

Hinckley, now 67, shot at Reagan as the president was exiting a Washington hotel on March 30, 1981, puncturing a lung and causing severe internal bleeding. Three others were also wounded. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982, and remained hospitalized until 2006. He was allowed to live with his mother in 2016.

Hinckley suffered from acute psychosis when he shot the president and had developed an obsession with the actress Jodie Foster, believing the attack would impress her.

In September 2021, the court approved an agreement by prosecutors and Hinckley’s defense team that would allow his release in June if he complied with certain conditions. A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held a hearing on Wednesday to ensure the agreement remained intact.

Chaos Outside The Washington Hilton Hotel After The Assassination Attempt On President Reagan
Chaos surrounds shooting victims immediately after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, by John Hinckley Jr. outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Getty Images


In a status report for the court last month, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia wrote that Hinckley “has recovered his sanity such that he does not present a danger to himself or others because of mental illness if unconditionally released on June 15, 2022.”

Barry Levin, Hinckley’s attorney, told the court on Wednesday the agreement to free his client was the “culmination of decades of work” after medical professionals came to an “unanimous” decision about his mental fitness.

Hinckley wishes he could “undo” his actions, the attorney said, and wished to apologize to the Reagan family. Hinckley himself was not present in court. 

Prosecutors said they wish Hinckley “the best” and said his success is a testament to the value of proper mental health care.

Judge Paul Friedman reminded the court that they were present because Hinckley tried to kill Reagan, adding the president “was very close to death.” The judge discussed the long history of the case and said the decision did not come lightly. 



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