Hospital Drops Its Request for Hinckley Pass

Associated Press

A mental hospital criticized for withholding information about presidential assailant John W. Hinckley Jr. dropped its request Wednesday to give him an Easter pass.

The request was withdrawn "in order to assess the clinical significance of writings and other materials belonging to Mr. Hinckley which were heretofore unexamined by the hospital staff," St. Elizabeths Hospital officials said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Barrington D. Parker.

The hospital's decision was made following courtroom disclosures earlier this week that Hinckley had exchanged a series of letters last year with Florida Death Row prisoner Theodore Bundy, a triple murderer who has been linked to three dozen unsolved murders.

New Materials Found

Hospital officials indicated in their letter that new materials found during a search of Hinckley's room Tuesday night had prompted their decision to withdraw the request that Hinckley be allowed to visit his parents.

Those materials were turned over to Parker, who had ordered Hinckley to produce all his letters, writings, poems and notes.

Hinckley, 30, was acquitted by reason of insanity in the March 30, 1981, shootings of President Reagan, presidential Press Secretary James S. Brady, a Secret Service agent and a city policeman. He was committed to St. Elizabeths by Parker following the verdict.

Dr. Harold Thomas, a hospital spokesman, said the decision to withdraw the visit request overruled the judgment of the psychiatrists treating Hinckley, who had recommended the Easter visit to his parents as "beneficial and therapeutic."

Parker granted the hospital's request to withdraw its motion to give Hinckley the weekend pass.

At an emergency hearing, the judge granted a government request to place any pertinent material under court seal after giving copies to Hinckley and the hospital.

"There is a great fear on our part that these materials might be returned to Mr. Hinckley, beyond the court's control and never be seen again," Assistant U.S. Atty. Roger Adelman told the judge.

Adelman said the material would be needed eventually to assess any future requests by the hospital to grant Hinckley off-ground visits or other privileges.

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