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John Hinckley Jr. Set For Unconditional Release Later This Month

(CBS4)- A Colorado man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan more than four decades ago is set for unconditional release later this month. John Hinckley Jr. has spent most of the past 41 years in a mental hospital after being found not guilty by reason of insanity.

John Hinckley Jr.
John Hinckley Jr. is escorted by police in Washington, DC, on March 30, 1981, following his arrest after shooting and seriously wounding then President Ronald Reagan. (credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Since Hinckley moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, 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.

A judge who ruled on his release said Hinckley has displayed no symptoms of active mental illness, no violent behavior and no interest in weapons since 1983.

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

Hinckley was 25 when he shot and wounded the 40th U.S. president outside a Washington hotel. The shooting paralyzed Reagan press secretary James Brady, who died in 2014. It also injured Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty.

Hinckley was suffering from acute psychosis. When jurors found him not guilty by reason of insanity, they said he needed treatment and not a lifetime in confinement.

Such an acquittal meant that Hinckley could not be blamed or punished for what he did, legal experts have said. Hinckley was ordered to live at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington.

In 1982, he wrote to CBS4's Rick Sallinger, "When I get out I want to be an astronaut or a psychiatrist, possibly a Denver Bronco."

In 1984, he wrote that he was being treated as a political prisoner since he was unable to vote.

In the 2000s, Hinckley began making visits to his parents' home in Williamsburg. A 2016 court order granted him permission to live with his mom full time after experts said his mental illness had been in remission for decades.

In recent years, Hinckley has sold items from a booth at an antique mall that he's found at estate sales, flea markets and consignment shops. He's also shared his music on YouTube.

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