Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. is seen for first time since judge granted him unconditional release from strict conditions including court-mandated medication and therapy
John Hinckley Jr, who tried to kill then-President Ronald Reagan in a bid to impress actress Jodie Foster 40 years ago, has been pictured for the first time since he was granted an unconditional release from his strict court conditions.
Reagan’s would-be assassin was photographed on Tuesday as he exited a silver Toyota Avalon and entered a Williamsburg, Virginia office building, where he spent almost 90 minutes, according to the New York Post.
The building houses an insurance agency, a chiropractic and acupuncture clinic, and psychiatric offices.
The 66-year-old was pictured wearing a plaid, untucked short-sleeve button-down shirt with a blue baseball hat, navy blue pants and orthopedic-style shoes while holding a COVID-19 face mask in his hand.
Hinckley Jr. had been granted an ‘unconditional release’ from his remaining court-monitored supervision in a Washington DC court ruling the day beforehand on Monday.
John Hinckley Jr, who tried to kill then-President Ronald Reagan in a bid to impress actress Jodie Foster 40 years ago, has been pictured for the first time since he was granted an unconditional release from his strict court conditions
Reagan’s would-be assassin was photographed on Tuesday as he exited a silver Toyota Avalon and entered a Williamsburg, Virginia office building, where he spent almost 90 minutes
The 66-year-old was pictured wearing a plaid, untucked short-sleeve button-down shirt with a blue baseball hat, navy blue pants and orthopedic-style shoes while holding a COVID-19 face mask in his hand
Hinckley Jr. had been granted an ‘unconditional release’ from his remaining court-monitored supervision in a Washington DC court ruling the day beforehand on Monday
He has been subject to strict conditions which include court-ordered medication, therapy and constant supervision by doctors, since he was released from a 35-year stint in a Washington mental hospital in 2016.
Hinckley was allowed to move to a gated community in Virginia with his mother – who has since passed away.
His attorneys had argued the would-be assassin was ‘no longer a threat’ and should be allowed an unconditional release, meaning all restrictions on Hinckley’s freedoms can eventually be lifted, making him, effectively, a free man.
Then-President Reagan was wounded in the attack, with a bullet piercing the head of state’s lung and getting lodged near his heart
Previously, Hinckley could not legally own a gun, or use alcohol or drugs.
He was also legally barred from reaching out to Reagan’s children, or other victims of the heinous 1981 attack, or their families – as well actress Jodie Foster, who Hinckley was then obsessed with, crediting the assassination attempt as a bid to gain the ‘Taxi Driver’ star’s affection.
Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis, 68, has since condemned the unconditional release and says she believes Hinckley Jr doesn’t feel any remorse for shooting her father, or injuring three others in an attempt to get to Reagan.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Davis, who was 28 at the time of the assassination attempt, wrote that she now lives in fear Hinckley will try to contact her.
‘Now, Hinckley’s last restrictions have been lifted. He can now, if he wants, contact me, my siblings and the actress Jodie Foster, whom, as is well known, he was trying to impress by carrying out his ambush,’ Davis wrote.
‘I think I always knew this day would come,’ the author and actress wrote, adding that Hinckley’s lawyer had been ‘relentless’ on his behalf.
Hinckley’s attorney, Barry Levine, speaks with reporters outside the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, Monday, after a hearing in which a judge ruled that his client – who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan four decades ago – can be freed from all his previous restrictions
Reagan’s security detail rushed to protect the president after Hinckley unleashed a volley of six shots into the crowd outside the Washington hotel
Patti Davis said she does not believe John Hinckley Jr, who shot and wounded her father in 1981, feels any remorse, and fears he may try to contact her. Pictured: Patti Davis speaking at the funeral of her mother, Nancy Reagan, in 2016 [File photo]
The Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute released a statement condemning the release of Hinckley
‘People’s memories have faded. That burst of gunfire outside the Washington Hilton was a long time ago. But for me, for my family, for Foster, the memory of that day will never fade. In my mind’s eye, I will always picture Hinckley’s cold eyes as he blew open White House press secretary Jim Brady’s head, as he wounded Secret Service Special Agent Tim McCarthy and Metropolitan Police Department Officer Thomas Delahanty.
‘I will always picture my father being shoved into the limousine after a shot struck his lung and nearly grazed his heart,’ she wrote in the Post.
Davis compared her anguish to that of some members of the Kennedy family upon the recent news that Sirhan Sirhan – the man who shot and killed Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, would be recommended for parole – saying that the passage of time does not ease a family’s pain.
Writing of her fears Hinckley may try to contact her, Davis said there was ‘no manual’ for how to cope with the situation.
At Monday’s court hearing, Hinckley’s attorneys argued that their client had been ‘ravaged by mental illness at the time,’ and that he has since received ‘world class mental health treatment’ and benefitted from a support system set in place by family and health professionals.
Would-be assassin Hinckley will now legally be able to own a gun, after the agreement reached by his attorneys in Washington district court
Secret Service agent Timothy J. McCarthy, foreground, Washington policeman Thomas K. Delehanty, center, and presidential press secretary James Brady, background, lie wounded outside Washington’s Hilton Hotel after shots were fired by Hinckley at then-President Reagan
‘There is no evidence of danger whatsoever,’ Hinckley’s attorney, Barry Levine, asserted, adding that Hinckley has been given an ‘excellent’ prognosis by his doctors and therapists.
Hinckley botched his attempt to assassinate then-President Reagan on March 20, 1981, after unleashing a volley of six bullets at Reagan and several others outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The attack left the newly elected head of state severely injured, with three of the president’s entourage and security detail wounded as well.
Hinckley was apprehended and arrested at the scene.
Twenty-five years old and acting alone, Hinckley was declared ‘not guilty’ in the attempt and ruled to be suffering from acute psychosis – with the attack being a misguided bid by the man to gain the affection of actress Jodie Foster, whom he was obsessed with at the time.
Instead of serving jail-time, Hinckley was sent to St. Elizabeth’s hospital to receive treatment – where he spent the next 35 years.
In 2016, however, a judge ruled that Hinckley was successfully rehabilitated and had become mentally stable, and was allowed to move out of the mental hospital and in with his mother in a gated-community home in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Hinckley’s mother, Jo Ann Hinckley, passed away last month at 95 years old.
Hinckley is now considered legally and mentally stable – and no longer bound by a series restrictions put in place on him after his 2016 release.
Levine argued in court last month that his client should no longer be subjected to these limitations, on the basis that his client no longer poses a threat.
Secret Service agents and bystanders attend to those who were injured in the 1981 assassination attempt by Hinckley
Friedman upheld this sentiment in court with his ruling – which will stand as Hinckley continues to follow the rules and he has been abiding to for the past five years.
In 2020, a ‘violence risk assessment’ conducted on behalf of Washington’s Department of Behavioral Health ruled that Hinckley would not pose a danger to himself or others if unconditionally released.
The U.S. government, however, opposed ending these restrictions in May, and enlisted an expert to determine whether or not Hinckley would pose a threat to the public if these restrictions were to be revoked.
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 – who each took a bullet for the president, likely saving his life.
The then-president was also wounded in the attack, with a bullet piercing the head of state’s lung, and ending up lodged near his heart
The decision on Hinckley comes a month after the man who assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Palestinian refugee Sirhan Sirhan, was recommended for parole by a California review board after being denied 15 previous times.
The 77-year-old’s fate is currently in the hands of almost-recalled California Governor Gavin Newsom, who will decide Monday whether or not to reject the board’s decision to release the prisoner, currently serving a life sentence.
Jurors decided Hinckley was suffering from acute psychosis when he tried to murder Reagan in 1981, and found him not guilty by reason of insanity.
The heinous act was a desperate and misguided bid by Hinckley to ‘impress’ actress Jodie Foster
He spent the next 35 years in a Washington asylum.
He is now considered mentally stable, and has spent the past five years living with his mother, under doctors’ supervision.
Hinckley is now a keen painter, guitarist and singer, with his own YouTube account, where he posts both covers and his own original songs.
Last year, he won a ruling to publicly display his artwork and music under his own name after previously being forced to release it anonymously.
Hinckley has told doctors over the years that he regrets not being able to show or sell his paintings, most of which are landscapes, according to previously filed court documents.
His room is decorated with paintings he has made of houses and cats.
‘No one can see my art. I have these other aspects of my life that no one knows about.
‘I’m an artist. I’m a musician. Nobody knows that. They just see me as the guy who tried to kill Reagan.’
Entries from Hinckley Jr.’s diary reveal he occasionally ‘regretted’ his 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, but he felt ‘accomplished and satisfied’ that he tried.