John Hinckley, who was found not guilty by way of insanity in the case of attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, could be released from the mental hospital that he has been held at since 1982.
A federal judge will begin eight days of trial today to deem whether or not Hinckley is fit to be released from St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington after doctors there have petitioned to have him removed. Hinckley’s doctors are seeking “convalescent leave if a series of extended visits to his mother's home prove to be successful,’ reports the Daily Mail.
Hinckley has been acknowledged to be in remission of his mental illness, and has consequently enjoyed gradual freedoms. In more recent years, Hinckley, now 56, has visited his 85 year old mother in Virginia.
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The motion that his doctors lodged requested eight visits of 17-24 days for Hinckley to his mother’s home. Should they go well, St. Elizabeth Hospital wants “the sole discretion to place Hinckley on convalescent leave without any further review by this court.”
However, his release would not be welcome by all. One of Hinckley’s mother’s neighbors was quoted as saying that his potential release “is not terribly reassuring to me living next door.”
Hinckley, who was deemed insane following his assassination attempt, shot at the President six times in two seconds on March 30, 1981. President Reagan survived after a bullet passed near his heart, and he was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Hinckley was also known for his obsession with actress Jodie Foster, who was a freshman at Yale University at the time of the shooting. Hinckley wrote to Foster on postcards featuring the Reagans that he and her would one day “occupy the White House.”
When interviewed about the shooting in the following days of the incident, Foster said she did not know who Hinckley was.