John Hinckley, Jr. Released: Man Who Attempted To Assassinate President Reagan Free After 35 Years

John Hinckley, Jr. has been released from the Washington mental hospital that housed him for the last 35 years, according to a report by ABC News. Hinckley being released is due to an order from a federal judge that has ruled that Hinckley has psychologically recovered to the point that the public is safe from any danger from Hinckley. John Hinckley, Jr. will reside with his mother in Virginia. Hinckley’s lawyer, Barry Levine, stated that his client will be a “citizen about whom we can all be proud.” Levine commented further on how Hinckley’s family feels now that he has been released.

“John Hinckley has worked hard and he is well. He’s excited about his future. His family is ecstatic to have him home. He continues to regret the suffering he caused others. We hope people of good will will wish him well.”

Redacted reports of Hinckley’s assassination attempt are available to the public on the FBI website found here.

On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley, Jr. attempted to kill President Ronald Reagan as he was leaving an event at the Hilton Hotel. Hinckley fired six bullets from a.22 caliber gun. Reagan was hit with one of the bullets in his chest, but not killed. The bullet wound caused internal bleeding and a collapsed lung, which required Reagan to undergo emergency surgery. Even after being shot, President Reagan’s personality was still humorous. During this time, Reagan is famous for two quotes. Prior to surgery, he said to the doctors “Please tell me you’re all Republicans” and to his wife, he said, “Honey, I forgot to duck.”

Besides President Reagan, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, police officer Thomas Delahanty, and White House Press Secretary James Brady were all struck by bullets. Brady sustained the most critical injury. Brady was struck in the head by one of the bullets which caused him to live the rest of his life paralyzed.

Hinckley was obsessed with movie star Jodie Foster. It was this obsession that led him to attempt to kill President Reagan. He was also obsessed with the movie Taxi Driver. In the movie, Robert DeNiro’s character was in love with the character played by Cybil Shephard. DeNiro’s character attempted to assassinate a political candidate that Shephard’s character worked for. He wanted to do this in order to win her love. Foster also had a role in the movie as a 12-year-old prostitute. DeNiro’s character shot and killed the pimp of Foster’s character. Hinckley viewed the movie 15 times and felt that if he killed a high-ranking politician, then he would get the attention of Jodie Foster, who he was infatuated with.

Hinckley believed that an assassination would be considered “the greatest love offering in the history of the world.”

Hinckley’s trial garnered national attention when the verdict was announced. John Hinckley, Jr. was found to be not-guilty of any of his crimes committed on March 30, 1981, by reason of insanity. He was to be sent to a mental hospital where he would undergo treatment to cure him of his psychological issues.

Hinckley’s trial led to changes in the law which made it more difficult for a person to be found not guilty due to insanity. Due to the severe injury to Brady, the Brady Bill was signed into law by President Clinton which mandated a waiting period for purchasing a gun.

Do you think John Hinckley, Jr. should have been released?

[Image Via AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File]

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