John Hinckley Jr., who shot Ronald Reagan, to be freed from court oversight, says judge

Since 2016, Hinckley has been living in Williamsburg, Virginia

Updated: September 27, 2021 - 2:07pm

John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan 40 years ago, will be allowed to be freed from his remaining restrictions next year if he continues to follow the rules he currently abides by and remains mentally stable, said a federal judge on Monday.

The full ruling will be issued by U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C. Judge Paul L. Friedman later this week. The plan, according to Freidman, is that Hinckley will be released in June from all continuing court supervision if he remains mentally stable and continues to follow the court-issued rules that have governed his life since leaving a Washington hospital in 2016 to live in  Williamsburg, Virginia.

Hinckley, now 66, since moving to Williamsburg has had court-imposed doctors and therapists oversee his psychiatric medication and decide how often he should be made to attend individual and group therapy sessions. He is also barred from owning a gun or contacting the children of President Ronald Reagan, other victims of the shooting or their families, and actress Jodie Foster with whom he was obsessed at the time of the shooting.

Barry Levine, Hinckley's attorney, has asked for an unconditional release, arguing that his client no longer poses a threat – 2020 violence risk assessment concluded as much. The U.S. government opposed ending all restrictions on Hinckley in a May court filing. 

At the time of the shooting, Hinckley was 25 and, according to the rule of the jury, suffering from acute psychosis. He was therefore found not guilty by reason of insanity and sentenced to treatment and not life in prison. The shooting injured the 40th president, paralyzed his press secretary James Brady, who died in 2014, in addition to injuring Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty.