Toronto Star

Hinckley may be freed from restrictio­ns


A U.S. federal judge said Monday that John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinat­e former U.S. president Ronald Reagan four decades ago, can be freed from all remaining restrictio­ns next year if he continues to follow those rules and remains mentally stable.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington said during a 90-minute court hearing he’ll issue his ruling on the plan this week.

Since Hinckley moved to Williamsbu­rg, Va., from a Washington hospital in 2016, court-imposed restrictio­ns have required doctors and therapists to oversee his psychiatri­c medication and therapy. Hinckley has been barred from having a gun. And he can’t contact Reagan’s children, other victims or their families, or actress Jodie Foster, who he was obsessed with at the time of the 1981 shooting.

Friedman said Hinckley, now 66, has displayed no symptoms of active mental illness, no violent behaviour and no interest in weapons since 1983.

“If he hadn’t tried to kill the president, he would have been unconditio­nally released a long, long, long time ago,” the judge said.

“But everybody is comfortabl­e now after all of the studies, all of the analysis and all of the interviews and all of the experience with Mr. Hinckley.”

Friedman said the plan is to release Hinckley from all court supervisio­n in June.

A 2020 violence risk assessment conducted on behalf of Washington’s Department of Behavioral Health concluded Hinckley would not pose a danger if he’s unconditio­nally released.

The U.S. government had previously opposed ending restrictio­ns. But it recently retained an independen­t expert to examine Hinckley and took a different position Monday, with attorneys saying they would agree to unconditio­nal release if Hinckley follows the rules and shows mental stability for the next nine months.

 ?? ?? John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinat­e former U.S. president Ronald Reagan in March 1981.
John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinat­e former U.S. president Ronald Reagan in March 1981.

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