John Hinckley Jr. Could Be Set Free

John Hinckley Jr. – Defense attorneys want John Hinckley to be transitioned out of a mental hospital “The hospital doesn’t know what Mr. Hinckley is thinking,” the prosecutor says, The hearing may determine whether to eventually free him.

Hearings continued on Thursday to determine the future of John Hinckley Jr., who shot President Ronald Reagan and three others in March 1981. A federal judge will decide whether Hinckley should eventually be released from a mental hospital, where he has been a patient since his 1982 trial.

On Wednesday, his lawyers said he is not dangerous and should eventually be released. But prosecutors are fighting that, saying Hinckley has been deceptive about his activities while on visits to his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In opening statements, prosecutor Sarah Chasson said Secret Service agents will testify they performed surveillance on Hinckley without his knowledge earlier this year when he was allowed what he was told was unsupervised free time in Williamsburg.

On several occasions in July and September, he was supposed to go to the movies or shopping but instead went to bookstores where he looked at books about Ronald Reagan and presidential assassins, Chasson said. A requirement of Hinckley’s current visitation program is that plans be laid out detailing what he will do when on his own and that medical staff and the Secret Service are informed.

According to Chasson, in the first instance in July, Hinckley was supposed to go to the movie “Captain America.” Later when he saw his “treatment team,” he not only maintained he had gone to the movie, but he enthusiastically recommended it.

Chasson also quoted from a 1987 diary entry by Hinckley in which he said “psychiatry is a guessing game” and doctors “will never know the true John Hinckley.”

Dr. Tyler Jones, director of psychiatry at St. Elizabeths, testified Hinckley had been diagnosed years ago as suffering from depression and from an unspecified psychotic disorder. But Jones said he’s been in remission for both of those disorders for many years. He said Hinckley also suffers from narcissism, which has improved but is still present.

According to Jones, Hinckley’s treatment team was informed by the Secret Service that Hinckley had not told the truth about his activities during several visits. Jones said the medical staff discussed this issue with Hinckley, who initially did not appear to view the issue as a big deal, but later understood it was a serious issue.

Although concerned Hinckley was not truthful about his activities, Jones said, “We didn’t feel this constituted an increased risk.” The staff decided to reduce Hinckley’s Christmas visit to his mother from 10 days to five days, and he will not be allowed to have any unaccompanied activities during that December stay.

A September filing by prosecutors said Hinckley “continues to be deceptive regarding his relationships with and interest in women.” According to the document, in June of 2009 he went on the Internet to find photos of his female dentist. “When he was caught, Hinckley claimed, falsely, that the dentist had invited him to view her personal photographs.”

Asked about the photographs of the dentist, Jones said the photographs were of the woman graduating from dental school and were “not salacious.”

Hinckley, who was 25 at the time of the shooting, was enamored of actress Jodie Foster. He left a letter addressed to her in his Washington hotel room saying, “Dear Jodie. There is a definite possibility I will be killed in my attempt to get Reagan.”