John Hinckley Jr. — man who shot Ronald Reagan — to be released in Virginia
WILLIAMSBURG — A federal judge on Wednesday granted John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, “full-time convalescent leave” from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
The order allows Hinckley, Jr. to live full-time in Williamsburg, Virginia, but still under certain restrictions.
Hinckley and his lawyers appeared in federal court in April 2015 and argued that he had been successfully rehabilitated from his illness and that he deserved a release. But prosecutors worried that his family, struggling to pay the bills to treat his illness, could afford to take care of him.
Hinckley was 25 when he shot Reagan and three others outside the Washington Hilton 35 years ago. James Brady, the White House press secretary who was hit in the shooting, died in 2014 due to injuries from the assassination attempt, though authorities announced earlier this year that they would not pursue additional charges.
Hinckley has slowly gained some freedoms since he was incarcerated. In 2003, he was allowed day visits with his family, and since then has been granted longer visits.
He is not allowed to go near any member of the Reagan or Brady families, along with relatives of the Secret Service officer and the D.C. police officer wounder in the 1981 attempt, according to the court order.
Michael Reagan, the president’s son, asked for forgiveness Wednesday in response to the news.
“My father did more than say the Lords Prayer He lived it in forgiving John Hinkley Jr…Maybe we should do the same,” he tweeted.
But the Reagan Foundation itself was harsher.
“Contrary to the judge’s decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release,” the Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute said in a statement.