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35 years after shooting Reagan, Hinckley to be released next week

John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan 35 years ago will be released to his mother’s home in Virginia on Sept. 10, his attorney said Thursday.

Today’s announcement came from Hinckley’s attorney, Barry Levine, who said he thought his client “will be a citizen about whom we can all be proud,” the Associated Press reported.

A federal judge ruled in late July that Hinckley, 61, could be released from the psychiatric hospital where he has lived for the past three decades.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman noted that both the federal government and the hospital agree that Hinckley’s diagnosed psychotic disorder and depression “have been in full and sustained remission for well over 20 years, perhaps more than 27 years.”

Hinckley attempted to assassinate Reagan on March 30, 1981. He shot and wounded the president, then-White House press secretary James Brady and two others outside the Washington Hilton hotel. Beforehand, Hinckley had written a letter to actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed, about his plans to “get Reagan.”

This video originally aired on the Macneil/Lehrer Report. Video by PBS NewsHour

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of mental insanity and committed to St. Elizabeths Hospital.

Over the years, Hinckley received permission to leave the hospital for longer periods to visit his family. Over the last two years, he was allowed to spend up to 17 days each month at his 90-year-old mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia, AP reported.

Friedman’s ruling stipulates that Hinckley be allowed to live with his mother for at least one year. He must continue therapy, find paid or volunteer work and check in with his doctors on a monthly basis. If he successfully completes one year of living with his mother, he will be allowed to move out and live on his own, with roommates or in a group home.

Levine called Hinckley’s release a “milestone” that came about because his client and his family made a commitment to “responsibly deal with disease.”

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