John Hinkley 30 years later.docx - DCarlile

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					  Doctors: Reagan shooter is recovering, not a danger
                                                  By James Polk, CNN
                                              March 26, 2011 9:55 p.m. EDT

Washington (CNN) -- After almost 30 years in a mental hospital, John W. Hinckley Jr., the college dropout who tried to kill
President Ronald Reagan, is moving closer to the day his doctors may recommend he go free.
According to court records, a forensic psychologist at the hospital has testified that "Hinckley has recovered to the point that
he poses no imminent risk of danger to himself or others."
That concerns former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova, who helped oversee Hinckley's prosecution in 1982. He told CNN, "I
think John Hinckley will be a threat the rest of his life. He is a time bomb."
Nine U.S. presidents attacked since the Civil War
Hinckley is now 55. Over government objections in 2009, a judge extended his furlough privileges at the home of his aging
mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, to a dozen visits of 10 days each during the past year and a half. Any time he is away from
his mother's home, Hinckley is required to carry a GPS-equipped cell phone for tracking purposes. And by court order, he is
forbidden to talk to any media.
Gallery: John Hinckley Jr. and Jodie                                                  Foster

At the trial, the defense pleaded insanity. His lawyers did not dispute Hinckley shot and wounded Reagan in an
assassination attempt as the President left a speech at a Washington hotel on March 30, 1981. Instead, defense
psychiatrists portrayed Hinckley as a loner -- depressed, drifting, and obsessed with a delusional love for actress Jodie
The jury, after four days, returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. At the time, federal law put the burden on the
prosecution to prove Hinckley was sane.
"That's impossible to prove anyone is sane in a court of law, certainly beyond a reasonable doubt," said diGenova. After
Hinckley's acquittal, Congress reversed the law. It now requires the defense to prove insanity.
Hinckley's diagnosis always has been somewhat murky. In the latest court proceedings, doctors said he had an unspecified
psychotic disorder as well as suffering major depression, but both are in remission.
Reagan's daughter: Hinckley 'beat the legal system'
U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman wrote in his 2009 ruling, "The ultimate question is whether a preponderance of the
evidence supports the proposition that Mr. Hinckley will not, in the reasonable future, be a danger to himself or others." The
judge agreed with hospital doctors that Hinckley would not.
In supporting expanded furloughs, the St. Elizabeths Hospital staff described this as a "transitional stage," apparently toward
greater freedom. Hinckley is expected to be back in court with his doctors later this spring to consider what happens next
when the 12 furloughs have been used up.
John Hinckley had stalked Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan at least five previous times in his admitted effort to
impress Jodie Foster, then a freshman student at Yale University.
On the day he shot Reagan, Hinckley left behind in his hotel room a 2-page handwritten letter addressed to the actress,
asking her "to please look into your heart and at least give me the chance, with this historic deed, to gain your respect and
Two days later, Miss Foster told a news conference at Yale she did not even know who Hinckley was.
Gallery: Reagan assassination attempt
Reagan shooting: 'Thought we'd lost him'

                                           Police tackled and
                                           arrested Hinckley
                                           immediately after he
                                           shot President Reagan
                                           on March 30, 1981.

Hinckley had become obsessed with her after the actress played the role of a 12-year-old prostitute in "Taxi Driver," a movie
that defense psychiatrists said Hinckley had watched at least 15 times. In the 1976 film, the disturbed cabbie first tries to
assassinate a presidential candidate, then guns down the prostitute's pimp in a bold and bloody rescue scene.
The last time he went to Yale, earlier in March of 1981, Hinckley left a note under her door, "Jodie Foster love, just wait, I'll
rescue you very soon."
In the court proceedings in 2009, defense and government witnesses did agree on this: Thirty years later, there is
considerable evidence John Hinckley still has problems in his relationships with various women he has been dating, both
inside and outside the hospital.

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