WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- Attorneys for John Hinckley, Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan and others in 1981, argued he should be allowed to live outside a Washington, D.C., psychiatric hospital, with conditions, because he's no longer a danger and ready to integrate with society.
Hinckley's attorney, Barry Levine, asked a federal judge in an opening statement Wednesday to grant the request from St. Elizabeths Hospital for his client to live full-time with his mother in Williamsburg, Va. The hospital recommended Hinckley, who has been at the mental hospital since being found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting, be granted "convalescent leave," which includes outpatient treatment and up to 18 restrictions.
"The psychosis and major depression that made Mr. Hinckley dangerous in 1981 have been in full and stable remission for over two full decades," Levine said
Federal prosecutors opposed the plan, saying there are not enough restrictions. They asked U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman to reject any plan that doesn't have stricter conditions, which should include ankle-bracelet monitoring and continued contact with providers in Williamsburg and at St. Elizabeths.
Hinckley, 59, has been slowing gaining freedoms since 2003, when a judge allowed him to have day visits with his parents outside the hospital setting. Later that freedom was extended to overnight visits within a 50-mile radius. In 2006, he was granted permission for three-night trips to Williamsburg, which was later extended to four nights and then 17-day stretches.
The recent request could mean a leave for 24 days a month or full-time, year-round "convalescent leave."
Reagan, his press secretary James Brady, Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty were wounded in the March 30, 1981, shooting outside a Hilton hotel. Hinckley said he shot Reagan to gain the affections of actress Jodie Foster.
Brady suffered long-term brain damage as a result. He died Aug. 4, 2014, at age 73 and the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide as a result of the shooting. In January, the U.S. attorney said Hinckley would not face prosecution in Brady's death.