Would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley released

Man who tried to kill US president in 1981 released from psychiatric hospital in Washington following court order.

    Would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley released
    A federal judge ruled that 61-year-old Hinckley is not a danger to himself or the public [File: EPA]

    John Hinckley, the man who attempted to assassinate US President Ronald Reagan 35 years ago, has been freed from a psychiatric hospital in the US capital Washington DC, according to national media reports.

    A spokeswoman for the District of Columbia's Department of Mental Health said early on Saturday that all patients scheduled to leave St Elizabeth's Hospital had been discharged.

    Sixty-one-year-old Hinckley was among those scheduled for discharge, reports said.

    The AP news agency said that a rental car pulled into the driveway of the Hinckley home in Williamsburg in Virginia at about 2:30pm.

    The Washington Post reported that Hinckley was officially released from St Elizabeth's, when he had been scheduled to be freed.

    A federal judge ruled in late July that Hinckley was not a danger to himself or the public and could live full-time at his mother's home in Williamsburg.

    Hinckley had already been visiting Williamsburg for long stretches at a time and preparing for the full-time transition.

    Release conditions

    Hinckley's release has dozens of conditions attached, including a requirement that he works or volunteers at least three days a week, limits his travel, allows law enforcement to track his movements and continues to meet with a psychiatrist.

    However, his longtime lawyer Barry Levine said he believed Hinckley will be a "citizen about whom we can all be proud".

    As a 25-year-old college dropout, Hinckley had grown fixated upon actress Jodie Foster and the Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver, in which she played a teenage prostitute.

    The Reagan family issued a statement in July strongly opposing Hinckley's release [EPA]

    Inspired by the film's main character, who plots to kill a presidential candidate, Hinckley opened fire on Reagan outside a Washington DC hotel on March 30, 1981, in a misguided effort to win Foster's affections.

    The shooting, which disabled James Brady, the White House Press Secretary of the time, left its mark in a number of ways. The shooting helped to launch the modern gun control movement, and a 1993 bill named after him imposed background checks and a waiting period.

    The Reagan family issued a statement in July strongly opposing Hinckley's release. Foster has declined to comment on Hinckley since 1981.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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