Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin is seeking to leave the mental hospital he has resided in since he shot the former president of the United States in 1981.
A U.S. federal judge heard arguments on Wednesday as to whether or not John Hinckley Jr. could spend more time out of St. Elizabeths, a Washington mental hospital.
Hinckley’s lawyer, Barry Levine, argued that he has been in “full and stable remission” for more than 20 years. However, prosecutor Colleen Kennedy begs to differ and says that more conditions are needed to keep Hinckley and those who he is around safe.
Hinckley was 25-years-old when the jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity in his attempt to assassinate Reagan. John’s obsession with actress Jodie Foster led him to shoot Reagan and two others, including White House press secretary James Brady. Now, at 60-years-old, he is hoping that the judge will grant his wish to reside with his 89-year-old mother.
Since December 2013, John has been allowed to leave the hospital and stay with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia for 17 days out of the month. His lawyer is now requesting that he be granted convalescent leave, the equivalent of outpatient status, so he can live with her full time. Hinckley is able to get out and about, watching movies and going to the book store, but the U.S. Secret Service does keep an eye on him. While away, John must carry a GPS-enabled cell phone and call the hospital daily.
“There is no dispute that Mr. Hinckley is clinically ready for the next step in treatment, which is convalescent leave,” Levine said, according to Yahoo News.
Colleen and the U.S. government are against allowing John out of the hospital, citing that he had written letters to convicted killers Ted Bundy and Charles Manson, and he lied about his location when he went to visit his mother in January. According to NBC News, they also “pointed to a 1987 journal entry in which Hinckley wrote that his psychiatrists would ‘never know the true John Hinckley.'”
“Now is not the time to loosen the reigns of the hospital,” Kennedy said.
There will be several days of hearings this week, but it could take U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, the judge who previously granted the 17 days a month, several months before he issues his decision of whether or not to allow Hinckley more freedom.
Do you think the man that shot former president Ronald Reagan, John Hinckley, should be allowed out of the mental hospital? Leave your comments below.
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