Would-be Reagan Assassin to Leave Hospital
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – After living more than 35 years in a mental hospital, the man who tried to assassinate the 40th president of the United States will soon be released to the care of his mother, according to a judge’s ruling.
The Associated Press is reporting that John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to kill President Ronal Reagan on March 30, 1981 outside a Washington hotel, will be released into his mother’s care next month. He will continue to live by a number of restrictions, the report says, including attending individual and group therapy sessions. He also is restricted from talking to media or contacting victims and victims’ family members as well as actress Jodie Foster.
Hinckley, now 61, was found not guilty on reasons of insanity during a 1982 trial for the shooting that injured Reagan and his then-press secretary James Brady, permanently disabling the latter. Two other men were hit by the six bullets Hinckley fired that day – one struck a police officer, the other a secret service agent.
Instead of going to prison, Hinckley was ordered to treatment at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Hinckley said he attempted Reagan’s assassination to impress actress Jodie Foster. An hour before he pulled his gun on the president outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, Hinckley penned a letter to Foster, writing that he would abandon “this idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you, whether it be in total obscurity or whatever.”
Doctors have said for years that the would-be assassin is no longer plagued by mental illness. It was Judge Paul Friedman who ruled Wednesday that Hinckley is ready to live in society.
Not everyone agrees.
Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis, wrote on her website that she believes Hinckley should remain locked up. Like her father, she wrote, “I too believe in forgiveness. But forgiving someone in your heart doesn’t mean that you let them loose in Virginia to pursue whatever dark agenda they may still hold dear.”
For more than a year Hinckley has been allowed to spend 17 days a month at his mother’s home in Virginia, according to the AP, where he now will live with her full time.
Reagan Visited Twin Falls
Reagan, who recovered from the gunshot wound (a bullet had ricocheted off his limousine and lodged in a lung close to his heart), visited Twin Falls in 1986.
One newspaper reported at the time that the community was preparing to give the president a "hero's welcome."
“The community is really buzzing,” then Superintendent of Public Schools Carl Snow told the Spokane Chronicle in an Oct. 29, 1986 article. “Nothing like this has ever happened. Even the little kids are excited.”
The article went on to say that Reagan’s anticipated visit had increased community interest in civics and history.