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Reagan shooter wants more outings from psych hospital

By Reuters
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 13:26 EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Prosecutors are fighting to stop the man who shot and wounded President Ronald Reagan in 1981 from leaving a psychiatric hospital for more family visits.

On March 29, a day before the 30th anniversary of the shooting,John Hinckley, Jr. asked a federal judge to allow him an unspecified number of visits to his mother’s house inWilliamsburg, Virginia.

Hinckley, who tried to assassinate Reagan as he left a Washington hotel, was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the shooting in which presidential spokesman Jim Brady also was gravely wounded.

Government lawyers on Monday objected to the request for more visits, saying there were significant changes to Hinckley’s circumstances, including new doctors and “new family issues” that were not described further.

“The issues raised by these changed circumstances warrant serious consideration to determine whether Mr. Hinckley may now pose a threat to himself or others,” the government filing said.

They noted it had been three years since the court had heard testimony about Hinckley’s mental condition and that hearings would be needed to approve a transition plan.

Hinckley, 55, has been living at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington. In 2009, he was granted permission to make a dozen supervised visits to his mother’s house in Williamsburg that could each last 10 days.

Hinckley and the hospital last month asked for an unspecified number of additional visits “toward the goal of fully transitioning Mr. Hinckley there,” according to the March 29 filing in federal court in Washington.

The last 12 visits were done so “without any manifestation of mental disease or danger to himself or others,” it said. He was sent to the hospital in 1982 and was diagnosed with major depression and psychotic and narcissistic personality disorders.

Hinckley shot Reagan to try to impress actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed.

When U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman last approved the visits in 2009, he put restrictions on Hinckley including limiting the time he could spend alone to two hours a day and requiring him to carry a GPS-enabled cellphone that would allow authorities to locate him.

The judge also required him to see a doctor locally, restricted his Internet access and barred him from seeing a former girlfriend.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Domestic News

Image via WikiMedia Commons.

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