A federal judge has approved the unconditional release of John Hinckley Jr., the man infamous for hurting President Ronald Reagan and three other people in Washington, D.C. in 1981 during a failed assassination attempt.
According to NPR, the 66-year-old would-be assassin has gradually been granted less and less supervision over the past few years, which has ultimately led to him being able to live outside of a mental health facility. Hinckley’s lawyer said the event of his client’s unconditional release in June is not only appropriate, but also required by the law.
"There is no evidence of danger whatsoever," Hinckley’s lawyer, Barry William Levine, said in a statement Monday morning. He also reportedly described his client’s progress and prognosis as “excellent.”
Prosecutor Kacie Weston reportedly claimed the Justice Department agreed to a settlement but wanted to monitor Hinckley until June because of two important factors and changes in his life. The first factor being that he is living on his own for the first time in nearly 40 years after his mother – who he was previously living with in Williamsburg, Virginia – died in her sleep at 95 this past summer.
The second big factor is that one of his main doctors is disbanding his therapy group – which Hinckley was a member in – due to retirement.
"Ultimately your honor, at this point, the ball is in Mr. Hinckley's hands," Prosecutor Weston said after pointing out the Justice Department would file a motion with the court prior to Hinckley’s release in June if there were any new concerns about releasing him.
This is perhaps nearly the end of a case that began in 1982 after a jury found Hinckley not guilty for shooting President Ronald Reagan, White House Press Secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, and Washington Metropolitan Police officer Thomas Delahanty a year prior due to insanity.
"His mental disease is in full, stable and complete remission and has been so for over three decades," Hinckley’s lawyer said, also adding that his client reportedly wants to express his deepest apologies to the families of his victims, Jodie Foster, and especially the American people.
Hinckley’s lawyer has also reportedly described his client’s unconditional release in June as a "victory for mental health."