The man who attempted to assassinate former President Ronald Reagan was granted unconditional release Wednesday after more than four decades behind bars.
John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Reagan on March 30, 1981. Hinckley shot at Reagan several times as he left the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Hinckley wounded police officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy. He also critically wounded press secretary James Brady. Reagan was not directly hit but was injured after a bullet ricocheted off the presidential limousine.
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Hinckley spent more than two decades in a mental hospital before spending longer stretches of time in the community under special requirements and restrictions, according to The Associated Press (AP). Hinckley has been living full-time in Virginia under restrictions since 2016, according to the AP.
Hinckley is set to be released on June 15, according to WTOP reporter Neal Augenstein. (RELATED: Reagan, Riots, And Rockets Punctuate The Most Patriotic Product Ad We’ve Seen This Year)
“John Hinckley tried to kill the president of the United States. He came very close to doing so. We came to learn President Reagan was very close to death,” U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said, according to Augenstein. “James Brady was damaged for life.”
NEW: John Hinckley granted unconditional release, with no restrictions, 41 years after he shot, almost killed Pres Ronald Reagan. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. After years of treatment, increasing freedoms, US Dist Judge Paul Friendman wished him well.
— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) June 1, 2022
“In 1981, over 40 years ago, John Hinckley was a profoundly troubled young man. He had acute psychosis. He had an obsession with Jodie Foster. He identified with Travis Bickle, from Taxi Driver. He went to Yale (where Foster was attending school), he knocked on…door, he left notes. He began to stalk the president. The president was Jimmy Carter. He never got close to Jimmy Carter. But he did get close to Ronald Reagan.”
Friedman said Hinckley has not displayed signs of mental illness and has “sustained remission for more than 25 years,” according to Augenstein.
“We are not losing sight of what he did 40 years ago. He’s been scrutinized, he’s passed every test. I am confident Mr. Hinckley will do well in the years remaining to him. I hope the public will understand, he has made such progress, and he’s not a danger anymore,” Friedman reportedly said.