John W. Hinckley Jr., found innocent by reason of...


WASHINGTON -- John W. Hinckley Jr., found innocent by reason of insanity in his attempt to assassinate President Reagan, will not seek a quick release from custody but will remain in a mental hospital until he is no longer a dangeR to himself or ociety, one of his lawyers said today.

'After consulting with John W. Hinckley Jr. this morning, we wish to report that Mr. Hinckley has no current intention of exercising his right ... to a hearing on the question of release,' said defense lawyer Vincent Fuller.


Hinckley, 27, whose acquittal Monday night on charges of trying to kill President Reagan stunned many Americans and lawmakers, was transferred early today from the U.S. District Courthouse under heavy guard to the Army stockade at Fort Meade, Md.

He is expected to be moved within days to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, where under the law on insanity cases, he would be entitled to a hearing within 50 days on whether he could be released. Judge Barrington Parker, the trial judge, has set July 12 for an initial hearing into Hinckley's disposition.


Breaking his silence on Monday's verdict for the first time, Fuller said the jury 'properly concluded' the government failed to carry its burden of proving beyond a 'reason doubt' Hinckley was legally responsible for his actions.

'All of the psychiatric experts who testified in this case agree that John W. Hinckley Jr. was suffering from a mental disease on March 30, 1981,' said Fuller, a partner in the powerful Washington law firm of Williams and Connolly.

Under the law, Hinckley must be confined to the Washington mental hospital where he would be entitled to a hearing on whether he was no longer a danger to himself or society.

But Fuller said Hinckley will not 'be making any effort to seek release after the expiration of the statutory 50 day period as the law permits.'

'This law firm will not represent John W. Hinckley Jr. in any efforts to secure release until we are satisfied that he meets the criteria for release and that Mr. hinckley is no longer a danger to himself or society,' Fuller said.

Notes from the mostly black jury that spent four days in apparently rocky deliberations disclosed today that the panel took the highly unusual action of switching jury foremen early Monday.


The notes, made available to United Press International today, disclosed that the jury sought transcripts of testimony from Hinckley's parents and from a lead dJLJfJ'frFPRBhdRfhBDar-old loner's 'formative years' before making its decision.

Hinckley became the first assassin or would-be assassin of a major political figure to be acquit>rPwPww:P9 future use of the insanity defense for major crimes.

At least one member of the jury indicated the decision was affected by a judge's instructions that the panel must conclude Hinckley was sane 'beyond a reasonable doubt' during his attack on the presidential party March 30, 1981.

The verdict cannot be appealed by the government, which portrayed Hinckley as a cool, calculating would-be assassin. Hinckley's lawyers depicted him as a forlorn wanderer living in a fantasy world and suffering from a form of schizophrenia.

Judge Parker, who heard the case, was expected to sign papers before the end of the day committing Hinckley to St. Elizabeth's.

There were a host of calls for revision of laws dealing with the insanity defense, and while declining direct comment on Hinckley's acquittal, Attorney General William French Smith, said the defense should be reformed and the administration backs reform legislation in Congress.

'There must be an end to the doctrine that allows so many persons to commit crimes of violence, to use confusing procedures to their own advantage, and then to have the door opened for them to return to the society which they victimized,' Smith said.


The victims -- Reagan, White House press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty -- declined comment.

Treasury Secretry Donald Regan, emphasizing he was speaking only for hiself and not for the administration, said today, 'Frankly, I'm outraged at that jury decision.' He called the verdict 'beyond belief.' 'I just think it's pretty incredible,' one Washington resident said, expressing surprise. One of the six alternate jurors who were sequestered during the process, Willie Reives, 44, a post office clerk, said he was 'surprised' by the verdict. 'I think I would have voted guilty,' he said. 'I just think he (Hinckley) was aware of the circumstances. He just knew what he was doing.'

Hinckley's crime -- witnessed by millions of people through graphic television replays -- was never at issue, only his state of mind.

Reagan and McCarthy fully recovered from wounds inflicted by the exploding 'Devastator' bullets Hinckley fired as the president left a Washington hotel. Brady suffered crippling brain damage and has not returned to work, while Delahanty retired on medical disability.

Legal experts said the innocent verdict by the jury of mostly blue-collar and clerical workers is sure to trigger a new controversy over the insanity defense.


Most of the twelve jurors, whose verdict brought an end to Hinckley's 42-day, $3 million trial, were mum about what went on in their four days of deliberations and sought a return to private life.

However, Virginia Smith, 61, wife of a retired city policeman, told reporters the jury considered 'all the evidence' and concluded the psychiatric experts at the trial agreed Hinckley had some kind of mental disorder or illness.

Juror William Johnson told NBC News, 'It was about half and half, six and six, in the beginning.' He said six were for an innocent verdict 'right from the start' while the others were split between guilty and undecided.

One thing was certain: the jurors accepted at least some of Hinckley's defense that he was driven by delusions of winning the love of actress Jodie Foster and instilled by the movie 'Taxi Driver' when he fired at the presidential party on March 30, 1981.

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