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John W. Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) in 1981, will be released without restrictions in June 2022, according to a deal reached by his lawyers and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and accepted by a federal judge in the District of Columbia.
Judge Paul L.Friedman confirmed at a hearing that he will lift on the aforementioned date the heavy restrictions imposed on Hinckley in July 2016, when he was released from the psychiatric hospital where he was confined.
“If he had not attempted to assassinate the president, I would have released him unconditionally a long, long time ago,” Friedman said of Hinckley, who on March 30, 1981, when he was 25, opened fire on Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, from which the then-president was leaving after delivering a speech.
However, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute regretted the decision and expressed its strong opposition to Hinckley’s release, considering that he “remains a threat to others.”
“We hope that the Department of Justice will file a motion with the court that will lead to the reversal of this decision,” the foundation said in a statement released on its Twitter account.
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In July 2016, Hinckley left the psychiatric hospital after it was determined that he did not pose “a danger to himself or others,” and has since resided in Williamsburg (Virginia state), about 250 kilometers from Washington, with his mother, Jo Ann Hinckley, who died last July 30.
When he was allowed to leave the hospital, the judge ordered Hinckley to be subject to strict conditions that included traveling to Washington once a month for psychiatric treatment.
He was also prohibited from possessing weapons or drugs and from making contact with his victims’ families.
In addition, restrictions were placed on his movement and Internet use, although he obtained court authorization last year to stream music online on an account in his name.
Under the terms of the agreement, Hinckley, 66, must undergo a final nine-month observation period.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kacie Weston indicated that the government accepts the agreement if Hinckley maintains the conduct he has engaged in during this time between now and June of next year.
According to the prosecutor, “the ball is in Hinckley’s hands” at this point.
In the 1981 bombing, Hinckley seriously wounded Reagan, who managed to recover after being shot near the heart.
He also wounded Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, who rushed at the president to act as a shield, and police officer Thomas Delahanty.
Hinckley confessed to having attempted to assassinate the president to attract the attention of actress Jodie Foster and was found not guilty in June 1982 due to his mental derangement.
Ronald Reagan died in 2004 at the age of 90, but his children, Ron Reagan Jr. and Patti Reagan Davis, consistently opposed Hinckley’s release.