John Hinckley Jr., the attempted assassin of President Ronald Reagan, is scheduled to be released from the custody of the Saint Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital to which he has been committed since 1981.
In his 103-page decision, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ruled Hinckley no longer posed a threat to himself or others.
“Since 1983, when he last attempted suicide, he has displayed no symptoms of active mental illness, exhibited no violent behavior, shown no interest in weapons, and demonstrated no suicidal ideation,” Friedman wrote.
On March 30, 1981, President Reagan emerged from the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., after delivering an address to the AFL-CIO, with Hinckley lying in wait. As Reagan stood waving to the crowd, Hinckley fired six shots at Reagan.
Reagan was struck in the chest from a ricochet; three others, Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy, District of Columbia police officer Thomas K. Delahanty and White House Press Secretary James Brady were injured.
Charged with 13 crimes, Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Psychiatric physicians diagnosed Hinckley as suffering from a myriad of afflictions, including: Schizophrenia, depression, dysthymia, and schizoid personality disorders.
It was revealed later Hinckley had an unsettling attachment to actress Jodie Foster.
Since his confinement, Hinckley has successfully sought furlough with his parents with periodic extended leaves under supervision. By 2009, he was allowed to extend six-day visits to 10 days, provided he carry a cell phone equipped with a GPS to track his movements.
Since 2014, Hinckley’s visits to the home of his mother have increased in frequency and length. The eight-time, 17-day visits each were followed by an examination.
Hinckley is expected to released after August 5.
[Reuters] [Photo courtesy Barry Thumma/AP via ABC News]