John Hinckley Jr. In this Nov. 18, 2003, file photo, John Hinckley Jr. arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo, File)
WASHINGTON — Lawyers reached a deal Monday for the release of John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, from court supervision beginning in June 2022, according to multiple reports.
His unconditional release comes years after a judge allowed Hinckley to begin living outside a mental health facility, part of a gradual lightening of his supervision, WRC-TV and NPR reported.
Hinckley moved from a hospital in Washington to Williamsburg, Virginia, in 2016 and has since been under several court-imposed restrictions regarding his medical care and his communications, according to The Associated Press. The conditions have included doctors and therapists overseeing his psychiatric medication and deciding how often he attends individual and group therapy sessions. The 66-year-old has also been barred from having a gun or contacting Regan’s children, other victims or their families or the actress Jodie Foster, whom he was obsessed with at the time of the shooting.
On Monday, Hinckley’s attorney called the decision to fully release his client a “momentous event” that is appropriate and required by law, NPR reported.
“There is no evidence of danger whatsoever,” Barry Wm. Levine said, according to NPR. He added that Hinckley was “ravaged by mental illness” at the time of the 1981 shooting and that he has since received “world class mental health treatment,” according to WRC. In 2020, a “violence risk assessment” conducted for Washington’s Department of Behavioral Health found the 66-year-old would not pose a danger if released, the AP reported.
The Justice Department agreed to the settlement, according to NPR, though prosecutor Kacie Weston said they wanted to continue monitoring Hinckley for the next nine months. If any new concerns arise before June 2022, Justice Department officials said they would file a motion in court, NPR reported.
Hinckley was 25 when he shot and wounded the 40th U.S. president outside a Washington hotel. The shooting paralyzed Reagan press secretary James Brady, who died in 2014. It also injured Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty.
Jurors decided Hinckley was suffering from acute psychosis and found him not guilty by reason of insanity, saying he needed treatment and not life in prison.