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Sunday 25 September 2016

Reagan's would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr to leave psychiatric hospital

Published 01/09/2016 | 15:26

John Hinckley Jr, pictured in 2003 (AP)
John Hinckley Jr, pictured in 2003 (AP)

The man who tried to assassinate US president Ronald Reagan 35 years ago will leave a Washington psychiatric hospital to live full-time in Virginia on September 10.

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A federal judge ruled in July that 61-year-old John Hinckley Jr was no longer a danger to himself or others and could leave St Elizabeth's Hospital to live full-time at his mother's home in Williamsburg, Virginia.

At the time, Judge Paul L Friedman had ruled Hinckley could leave the hospital as soon as August 5.

Hinckley has gradually gained more freedom over the past decade, spending longer and longer stretches at his mother's home.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 shooting of Mr Reagan, his press secretary James Brady and two law enforcement officers outside a Washington hotel.

In his July 27 ruling, Judge Friedman wrote that Hinckley was a "profoundly troubled 25-year-old young man" when he shot Reagan in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster, but he has not exhibited symptoms of major depression or psychotic disorder for more than two decades.

Hinckley's long-time lawyer Barry Levine called Hinckley's departure from the hospital "a milestone" that was the result of a commitment by Hinckley and his family to "responsibly deal with disease".

"People of goodwill should celebrate his achievement and success," Mr Levine said.

He added of his client: "I think he will be a citizen about whom we can all be proud."

AP

Press Association

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