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Man Who Shot Reagan Granted Greater Freedom - 2003-12-18


A U.S. judge has ruled that the man who shot and wounded former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981 can leave a psychiatric facility for a series of unsupervised visits with his parents.

The judge said Wednesday that evidence submitted to the court suggests John Hinckley will not be a danger to himself or others. Despite objections by the Reagan family, the judge said Hinckley will be allowed six local day visits and two local overnight visits with the parents within a 80-kilometer radius of the Washington area.

Hinckley has been a patient at a Washington mental hospital since being acquitted by reason of insanity in connection with the 1981 shooting of Mr. Reagan and three others outside a Washington hotel.

His lawyers argued he should be given unsupervised visits to his parents' home in the state of Virginia, saying his mental health has improved.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan said in a statement after the ruling that she is disappointed by the judge's decision. She said her family's thoughts are with the victims of Hinckley's shootings, especially President Reagan's press secretary at the time, James Brady.

One of Hinckley's shots seriously wounded Mr. Brady in the head.

Hinckley has been allowed to make supervised day trips from the hospital since 1999.

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