Hinckley Allowed Longer Leaves
A federal judge loosened the restrictions on John W. Hinckley Jr. on Friday, allowing the man who attacked President Reagan to leave his hospital for seven overnight visits with his parents in Williamsburg, Va.
Hinckley, who shot Reagan in 1981, had been permitted to leave St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington for outings around the nation’s capital. He wanted to make longer trips and travel outside the area to his parents’ community in southeastern Virginia.
U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled Hinckley could be allowed initially three three-night visits and later four four-night visits. It was not known Friday when Hinckley would make the visits.
The Justice Department could appeal the decision. Justice spokesman John Nowacki said the order was being reviewed.
Friedman said Hinckley was “not permitted to leave one or both parents’ supervision at any time during the course of the conditional release” except when the hospital deemed it necessary.
The government had opposed Hinckley’s requests to visit Williamsburg, a three-hour drive from the forensic hospital where he has been held since 1982.
When Hinckley shot Reagan and three other people in 1981 as the president emerged from a downtown hotel, he was suffering from major depression and a psychotic disorder that led to an obsession with actress Jodie Foster.
Hinckley, found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982, said he shot Reagan to impress Foster.
His doctors have said his depression and psychosis are in full remission.
Since last year, Hinckley has been allowed occasional local overnight visits with his parents within a 50-mile radius of St. Elizabeths Hospital.