New Writings Abort Plans for a Hinckley Field Trip

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Associated Press

The mental hospital holding John W. Hinckley Jr. today dropped its proposal to take the man who shot President Reagan on a therapeutic field trip, as prosecutors turned up new writings by the presidential assailant.

Dr. Raymond Patterson, director of St. Elizabeths Hospital’s forensic services unit, said the decision to drop the request was based on material received by the hospital Thursday night.

Reading a letter to U.S. Dist. Judge Barrington D. Parker, Patterson said, “The Forensic Services Administration has determined that further clinical assessment by treatment staff is needed before it would permit” Hinckley to participate in a daylong field trip, such as a picnic or bowling party.


Comments by attorneys on both sides during the brief hearing indicated the material turned up by the Secret Service consisted of letters by Hinckley to an unidentified third party.

U.S. Atty. J. B. Stephens asked Parker to release the material which he said the Secret Service had obtained through a law enforcement investigation. Defense lawyer Vincent Fuller described the material as letters written by Hinckley.

Person Not Identified

Outside the court Stephens declined to reveal whether the third party was Jodie Foster, an actress Hinckley became obsessed with before he shot the President.

Parker refused to unseal the writings, which were turned over to the court Thursday, until Fuller could respond to the government’s request they be made public. The defense lawyer was given until Tuesday to file a written objection.

The hospital’s decision was announced a day after federal prosecutors cited “disturbing entries” made this week in the psychiatric record of Hinckley, who has been held at St. Elizabeths since he was acquitted by reason of insanity of charges he shot and wounded Reagan, presidential press secretary James S. Brady, and two other men on March 30, 1981.

Writings seized from Hinckley’s room in April, 1987, included correspondence with multiple murderer Theodore Bundy. Hospital officials abruptly dropped their request to allow Hinckley to visit his family over the Easter holiday last year after the Bundy correspondence was disclosed.