Ronald Reagan Shooter John Hinckley Jr. Wins Unconditional Release

By Bill Galluccio

September 27, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

A federal judge has approved the unconditional release of the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

A jury found John Hinckley Jr. not guilty by reason of insanity in the assassination attempt in 1982. He was committed to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., and lived there for over three decades before being released in 2016. He moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he lived with his mother until she died at the age of 95 this past summer.

Prosecutors agreed to free Hinckely of all the conditions of his release next June as long as he continues to follow the rules imposed by the court in 2016. They cited two significant reasons for why they want to continue monitoring him until June. The first was that he was living on his own for the first time in more than 40 years. The other was that his doctor is retiring and disbanding his therapy group. If he can keep following the conditions of his release for the next nine months, he will be a completely free man.

"Ultimately, your honor, at this point, the ball is in Mr. Hinckley's hands," Prosecutor Kacie Weston told the court.

Hinckley's longtime lawyer, Barry Levine, said that his client poses no danger.

"His mental disease is in full, stable, and complete remission and has been so for over three decades," Levine said.

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