A U.S. judge on Monday said he would grant “unconditional release” to John Hinckley, who wounded former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and three other people in a 1981 assassination attempt.
“I am going to, after all these years, grant unconditional release to Mr. Hinckley,” U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said during a court hearing in the District of Columbia.
In 2016, Friedman allowed Hinckley to move out of a Washington psychiatric hospital, where he had lived for three decades, but imposed restrictions on his travel and internet usage.
Friedman said during Monday’s hearing that he planned to lift those remaining restrictions. Hinckley’s mental health problems are “in remission” and he no longer poses a danger, Friedman said.
Friedman said he would issue a written order later this week memorializing his decision.
A federal prosecutor, Kacie Weston, said during the court hearing that the U.S. Justice Department agreed Hinckley should be given unconditional release. But Weston argued the restrictions should not be formally lifted until June 2022 so that prosecutors can continue to monitor Hinckley as he transitions to living on his own following the death of his mother.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation has condemned the decision.
“John Hinckley is responsible for the shooting of President Reagan and three other brave men,” the Simi Valley-based foundation said Wednesday in a statement. “One died two years ago from the wounds he received. Contrary to the judge’s decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release. They are all lives that matter dearly to us.”
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