Judge: Reagan shooter John Hinckley Jr. can live full-time outside mental hospital

WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge says the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan will be allowed to leave a Washington mental hospital and live full-time in Virginia.

Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled Wednesday that John Hinckley, Jr. is ready to live in the community. Friedman’s ruling comes more than 35 years after the March 30, 1981, shooting outside a Washington hotel in which Reagan and three others were injured.

Doctors have said for years that the now 61-year-old Hinckley, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting, is no longer plagued by the mental illness that drove him to shoot Reagan.

Hinckley is expected to live in James City County with his mother upon release. Residents have mixed feelings about him settling in the Williamsburg community.

Some who will soon be Hinckley’s neighbors say they don’t think the decision to release him is a mistake.

“We just have to trust that the medical people are making a good judgement,” Eunice Forehand told 8News Reporter Nakell Williams. “I hope he can comply with whatever restrictions he has and make good of this opportunity that he has been given.”

For more than a year he’s been allowed to spend 17 days a month at his mother’s Virginia home, which is where he will now live full-time.

James City Police Department officers say residents shouldn’t be concerned about safety.

“We will respond to any calls for service or complaints and handle them accordingly,” Williamsburg’s Deputy Chief of Police Steve Rubino said.

Hinckley is expected to be released in early August.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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