November 30th, 2011
02:39 AM ET

Reagan shooter Hinckley to seek freedom at hearing

On the day he shot President Ronald Reagan, 25-year-old John Hinckley Jr. left in his hotel room a letter addressed to young actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was infatuated. The letter began:

"Dear Jodie. There is a definite possibility I will be killed in my attempt to get Reagan."

But on March 30, 1981, Hinckley survived. His gun empty after he fired six shots at the president in less than two seconds, Hinckley was tackled by police and Secret Service agents. He was rushed away and all but disappeared into custody for the past three decades.

On Wednesday, a federal judge will begin a week and half of hearings on whether Hinckley eventually should be released from the mental hospital where he has been a patient since his 1982 trial ended in a jury verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Doctors at St. Elizabeth Hospital, a federal mental facility in Washington, have petitioned the court for approval to grant Hinckley convalescent leave if all goes well in series of extended visits to his mother's home.

Hinckley is now 56, his hair turning gray. In the last court hearing two years ago, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman acknowledged hospital doctors' testimony that his mental problems were in remission.

The court has steadily granted Hinckley greater freedoms over the years.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Cal

    "in remission"? HA! That's a good one. He didn't have cancer or some disease, he's mentally ill. There is no "remission" for crazy and you can't fix stupid either. But maybe he's doing better. Sure. Or maybe he's just biding his time. Sure.
    With our current medical technology we still have no way of telling for sure. Fix this little lack in our technology and say goodbye to terrorism and murder forever unless the sleazeballs get ahold of it. Then it'll never see the light of day.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. rooney

    I'll bet Jodie Foster doesn't want him out! Remember how creeped out she was? And still is.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Big Game James

    Thought Reagan was an American hero? Three comments? If it was Obama there'd be at least ten references to "back at the ranch."

    November 30, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ronvan

    Are you kidding me? Im crazy, no I am not, yes I am! Keep this "nut" locked up forever!

    November 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |