Updated at 10:36 a.m. ET
NEWS BRIEF A federal judge granted John Hinckley, the man who shot President Reagan in 1981 in order to impress Jodie Foster, his freedom Wednesday under the condition he lives with his mother full-time in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Hinckley was 25 at the time of the shooting and had a history of mental illness. He was obsessed with Foster’s role in Taxi Driver, in which the main character plots to assassinate a presidential candidate in order to win the affection of the character played by Foster. He shot Reagan in the chest on May 30, but the president made a full recovery. Three others, including press secretary James Brady, were wounded.
A jury found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity—a plea that was supported by the American Psychiatric Association. But since that time, he has lived at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. Since 2014, Hinckley has been allowed to spend about half the month at his mother’s home in Williamsburg. Friedman’s order makes that arrangement permanent.
Hinckley’s obsession with Foster was the element of the story that got the most public attention following his attempt to assassinated Reagan. He tried to establish contact with the actress several times in the years leading up to 1981, going as far as to visit Yale University in New Haven Connecticut, where Foster was a student at the time. When those attempts failed, he tried to impress her by stalking then-President Carter. Indeed, on October 9, 1980, Hinckley was arrested with firearms and ammunition in his suitcase at the airport in Nashville, Tennessee, where Carter was scheduled to make a campaign appearance.
When Reagan won the presidential election that year, Hinckley turned his attention toward him. And on March 30, 1981, he tried to kill Reagan in the driveway of the Washington Hilton Hotel. Brady, the press secretary, suffered permanent brain damage in the shooting; he died from his injuries in 2014. Shortly after his seven-week trial in 1982, Hinckley tried to kill himself. Here’s more from Wednesday’s court order:
The release is being presented as “convalescent leave,” and Hinckley is subject to strict rules. He must live at his mother’s house and be restricted to a 50-mile radius of that location in Williamsburg. He must, the order says, inform his doctors before he goes to any private home. If he meets those restrictions, Hinckley could be removed from the court’s control in as soon as a year.
Hinckley could be released from St. Elizabeths as soon as next month.
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