John Hinckley Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate United States President Ronald Reagan 34 years ago, now says he’s been mentally stable for two decades and the time has come for him to start a rock band. And a psychiatrist who has examined the would-be assassin says he thinks that’s a pretty good idea.
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in connection with his March 30, 1981, shooting of Reagan as the president exited a Washington hotel surrounded by Secret Service protection as well as members of the media.
Firing a.22 caliber revolver wildly into the crowd that afternoon, Hinckley’s bullets struck Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, Police Officer Thomas Delahanty and, most severely, Reagan’s Press Secretary James Brady. Paralyzed for life due to his brain injury, Brady amazingly survived for another 33 years. But when he died in 2014, the cause of death was ruled to be Hinckley’s bullet.
Reagan himself was hit with a ricochet shot that bounced off a door of the presidential limousine and ripped through his chest, requiring emergency surgery to keep him alive.
But due to his successful insanity defense, Hinckley was not sent to prison but confined to a Washington D.C. area mental hospital. Since 2013, he has been permitted to spend about half of every month living with his mother in a wealthy Virginia gated community.
This week, a hearing is underway to determine if Hinckley should now move in with his 89-year-old mother full-time.
Hinckley apparently shot Reagan in a deranged attempt to impress then-19-year-old actress Jodie Foster, whom he had never met. The attempted assassin also suffered from severe depression as well as psychotic delusions — but doctors have testified that his symptoms have long since disappeared and that Hinckley has been in good mental health for about 20 years.
Now, the 59-year-old Hinckley says he wants to pursue his interest in music by starting his own band, as well as writing and publishing songs.
Psychiatrist Dr. Deborah Giorgi-Guarnieri testified on Friday that she thinks that’s a pretty good idea. But she added the caveat that Hinckley should not be allowed to perform his music in public, and if he published his songs, he must do so anonymously.
While in the mental hospital, John Hinckley Jr. learned to play guitar and sing, and music therapy has become one aspect of his treatment.
[Image: File Photo/John Hinckley Jr. Polaroid]