The man who shot Ronald Reagan was released from a Washington psychiatric facility for good on Saturday, more than 35 years after the shooting.
A federal judge ruled in late July that the 61-year-old John Hinckley Jr is not a danger to himself or the public and can live full-time at his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia.
A spokeswoman for the District of Columbia department of mental health said early on Saturday that all patients scheduled to leave St Elizabeths Hospital had been discharged. Hinckley was among those scheduled for discharge.
An Associated Press reporter saw a hired car pull into the driveway of the Hinckley home at around 2.30pm. Officers from the Kingsmill police department chased reporters away.
Hinckley had already been visiting Williamsburg for long stretches and preparing for the full-time transition. He will have to follow an extensive set of rules while in Williamsburg, but his longtime lawyer, Barry Levine, said Hinckley would be a citizen about whom we can all be proud.
Hinckley will have to work or volunteer at least three days a week. He has not yet done paid work in Williamsburg, but he has volunteered at a church and a psychiatric hospital, where he has worked in the library and in food service.
Hinckley will start off living with his elderly mother in her home in the gated community of Kingsmill, on the 13th hole of a golf course. According to court documents, Hinckley’s room has a king-size bed and TV and is decorated with paintings he has done of houses and cats. In the past, he has done chores such as cleaning, dishwashing, laundry and leaf-raking. After a year, he may live alone or with room-mates.
He will continue to go to therapy while in Williamsburg, seeing a psychiatrist twice a month for at least the first six months and attending weekly group therapy sessions. He will return to Washington once a month, to St Elizabeths’ outpatient department, to discuss his mental health and compliance with the conditions of his leave.
Hinckley will be able to travel – he got a driver’s license in 2011 and the court order in his case lets him drive within 30 miles of Williamsburg by himself. He can go up to 50 miles from the city if accompanied by his mother, sibling or a therapist or social worker. He can also drive to and from Washington once a month for his outpatient meetings.
Hinckley has long considered himself a musician and an artist. He paints and plays the guitar and has been involved in both as part of his therapy. He will continue to see a music therapist once a month while in Williamsburg. At court hearings in the case in late 2011 and early 2012, lawyers discussed the fact that Hinckley had recently developed an interest in photography.
There are limits to how Hinckley can spend his leisure time. He cannot drink or use illegal drugs, while he can surf the web but is not allowed to search for information about his crimes or victims, among other things. He cannot have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn without permission.
Once Hinckley lives in Virginia, he will be able to register to vote there. He has expressed an interest in voting in the past and tried unsuccessfully to get a ballot in the 1980s and 1990s. Levine told a newspaper in early August that he suspected his client would register to vote. Virginia’s deadline to register for the November presidential election is 17 October.
Finally, Hinckley is barred from talking to the press.
News Source TheGuardianNews