Would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley, Jr. has been granted unconditional release in June 2022 by a federal judge. Hinckley — who injured then-President Ronald Reagan and three other people in 1981 outside a hotel in Washington, D.C. — also apologized Monday to the people he shot, the American people, and Jodie Foster, whose attention he tried to win with the act.
In a letter sent before the attack, Hinckley, now 66, confessed that his motive in attempting to kill the President was to impress Foster, whom he’d been stalking after watching her in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. “This letter is being written only an hour before I leave for the Hilton Hotel,” he wrote. “Jodie, I’m asking you to please look into your heart and at least give the chance, with this historical deed, to gain your love and respect.”
Monday, his lawyer said his client wished to express his “profound regret” to Foster and his victims.
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982 in the shooting of Reagan, White House press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, and Washington Metropolitan Police officer Thomas Delahanty. He was committed to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington where he lived for more than 30 years, before being granted convalescent leave five years ago. He lived with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, until she died this summer.
The Department of Behavioral Health suggested Hinckley be released with no conditions last year, saying that he posed a “low risk for future violence.” Now, Hinckley will be given a nine-month trial period to see how he fares living on his own without the help of his current therapy group, which is disbanding. The Justice Department may reconsider come June if there are any new concerns about the man.
Hinckley has also been allowed to pursue his musical career via his YouTube channel after years of sharing his art and music anonymously. He emailed Rolling Stone last year, stating: “I’m now pursuing a music career. I write country songs mostly and I’ve just finished two songs…I’m hoping you’ll take an interest in my music career.”
Previously, Hinckley’s attorney Barry Levine told RS that his client “has put his music on YouTube in order to put his music in the public sphere. He is grateful for the nice comments he has received. He is working on an album and will be looking for a label.”