Man Who Tried to Kill Reagan in 1981 to Be Granted Unconditional Freedom Mid-June
© AP Photo / Barry ThummaU.S. Marshalls escort John Hinckley Jr. as he returns to a marine base via helicopter in Quantico, Va., Aug. 8, 1981
© AP Photo / Barry Thumma
Hinckley came to associate himself with the main character of the 1976 film "Taxi Driver," who planned to assassinate a presidential candidate. Having become obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, who played the lead role in the film, the would-be killer decided to win her heart by attempting to kill a sitting US president.
A federal judge has confirmed that John Hinckley, the attempted assassin of former US President Ronald Reagan, will be released from imprisonment without conditions, effectively granted full freedom 41 years after his assassination attempt.
Citing court documents, the New York Times reported on Wednesday that US District Judge Paul Friedman's decision agreed to release Hinckley on June 15. Earlier, in September, the judge stated that Hinckley would be released if he maintained good behavior, which he has allegedly done.
Hinckley has been living in Virginia at his mother's house under various restrictions since 2016. The judge has reportedly stated that the would-be killer could remain free if he remains mentally stable.
According to the report, federal prosecutors did not insist on continuing to restrict Hinckley's freedom, saying that he no longer posed a threat to society.
Hinckley, now 67, attempted to assassinate Reagan in 1981. At age 25, after failing to get actress Jodie Foster's attention, he wrote her a letter in which he laid out his plan to kill the former US president. At the time, Hinckley was stalking Foster.
Waiting for Reagan at the Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC, Hinckley managed to fire his .22 revolver six times before he was apprehended. A bullet fired by him ricocheted off the presidential limousine and struck Reagan's chest, puncturing his lung and causing significant blood loss outside the hotel.
Hinckley also shot police officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, and press secretary James Brady, who was paralyzed as a result of the shooting and died 33 years later from his injuries.
Hinckley was ruled not guilty due to insanity by the jury. He was sentenced to live at St. Elizabeths, a mental health facility in Washington, DC, where he stayed until 2006. According to the report, after his treatment team told the court that he was upset with having to publish his music online anonymously, Friedman allowed Hinckley to begin presenting his collectibles, poems, paintings, artwork, and music under his own name.
Hinckley reportedly intends to "make money" through his music and art. He is posting his music and artwork under his own name after a court ruling in 2020.
"If he hadn’t tried to kill a president he would have been released unconditionally a long time ago," Friedman said at the September hearing.