Judge says John Hinkley Jr. should be released from psychiatric hospital

The man behind the assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan will be released after 35 years in a mental institution. John Hinkley Jr. was 25 years old at the time of the much publicized event. The incident was triggered after Hinkley watched the 1976 film Taxi-driver and began to associate himself with the character in an attempt to impress actor Jodie Foster. Hinkley was diagnosed as being psychotic and depressed; before this incident, he used to stalk the actor while she was studying at Yale. He often left her notes and letters and began stalking President Carter in order to gain the attention of the actor.

On March 30th, 1981, Hinkley wrote a letter to Jodie Foster detailing the entire plan to kill the President. He stood outside the hotel in Washington D.C and waved as President Reagan walked in to give a speech. Forty minutes later when the President emerged from the hotel, Hinkley opened fire and hit four people.

A jury found Hinkley not guilty due to insanity. This decision came as a huge shock to the public. Hinkley was sent to a psychiatric hospital for treatment for the next 35 years. Over the last 20 years, he has been found free from any mental illness or suicide attempts. Judge Friedman has been allowing him 17-day stays at his mother’s house since 2014. He has been involved in voluntary work, such as landscaping for a church and working at a library and cafeteria. He has been attending lectures and outdoor concerts and even exercises regularly at the community center.

Restrictions have been placed on Hinkley; for the first year, he will have to live with his mother, he will have to carry a phone that is trackable, and he will have to work or volunteer three times a week. 

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