Here’s a look at the life of John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Birth date: May 29, 1955
Birth place: Ardmore, Oklahoma
Birth name: John Warnock Hinckley Jr.
Father: John W. Hinckley Sr., an oil executive
Mother: Jo Ann (Moore) Hinckley
Education: Attended Texas Tech University for seven years
Stalked actress Jodie Foster and said he was trying to impress her with the Reagan assassination attempt. He stated he became obsessed with her after seeing her in the movie “Taxi Driver,” in which the main character tries to assassinate a US senator.
October 9, 1980 – Hinckley is arrested at Nashville International Airport for possession of three firearms. President Jimmy Carter is in town that same day.
March 30, 1981 – President Reagan exits the Hilton Hotel in Washington. Hinckley is waiting for him in the crowd and begins shooting. One bullet hits Reagan in his left lung. Also injured are Press Secretary James Brady, US Secret Service agent Timothy J. McCarthy and Washington, DC, police officer Thomas K. Delahanty. Brady is shot in the head and partially paralyzed. Hinckley is quickly apprehended outside the hotel.
May 27, 1981 – Ingests an overdose of Tylenol and Valium in a suicide attempt.
August 25, 1981 – A federal grand jury indicts Hinckley with attempting to assassinate the president and assault with intent to kill for Brady, McCarthy and Delahanty. Additional weapons charges are also included in the indictment.
August 28, 1981 – At his arraignment, Hinckley pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to a 13-count indictment.
November 15, 1981 – Attempts suicide a second time by hanging himself with an article of clothing in his cell.
June 21, 1982 – Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity on all counts. Judge Barrington Parker commits Hinckley to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC.
February 13, 1983 – Attempts a third suicide since the shooting, this time by an overdose of his own antidepressant medication.
1985 – Hinckley’s parents establish a non-profit organization called the American Mental Health Fund, to raise money for mental health research.
1985 – Hinckley’s doctors report his condition to be in “full remission.”
1986 – Hinckley makes a brief, supervised visit to see his parents.
January 15, 1999 – The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Washington rules that Hinckley can make supervised trips out of the hospital, accompanied by hospital personnel.
April 11, 2000 – Representatives at St. Elizabeths Hospital recommend allowing Hinckley unsupervised visits with family.
June 29, 2000 – The hospital withdraws its recommendation for unsupervised visits to Hinckley’s parents’ home following a hearing in which prosecutors provide evidence of Hinckley’s continued interest in violent books and music.
December 17, 2003 – US District Court Judge Paul Friedman rules that Hinckley will be allowed limited, unsupervised daytime visits with his parents within a 50-mile radius of Washington, DC.
December 30, 2005 – The court rules that Hinckley will be allowed three visits of three nights each to his parents’ home in Williamsburg, Virginia, unaccompanied by hospital staff. Hinckley “is not permitted to leave one or both parents’ supervision at any time.”
April 16, 2007 – A hearing begins on whether to increase the length of Hinckley’s visits to his parents to two and four weeks at a time.
June 2007 – The court rules that Hinckley may make six-night visits to his parents’ home in Virginia, but longer visits are denied until the hospital submits a more detailed proposal of Hinckley’s schedule.
February 2008 – Is given permission to attend his father’s funeral in Williamsburg, Virginia.
June 2009 – The court increases the length of Hinckley’s visits home to 10 days. Hinckley is also authorized to obtain a driver’s license. The judge agrees he is not a danger to himself or others under the proper conditions.
May 2011 – The court approves Hinckley’s request for additional unsupervised visits to his mother’s home in Virginia.
July 29, 2011 – St. Elizabeths Hospital asks the court to allow Hinckley two 17-day visits.
December 20, 2013 – The court agrees to let Hinckley have expanded conditional release from a Washington, DC, psychiatric hospital, where he currently has been detained. Judge Friedman said Hinckley is allowed 17-day periods of off-campus visits to his mother’s home in Virginia—up from the current 10-day visits.
August 4, 2014 – Brady dies at the age of 73.
August 8, 2014 – A Virginia medical examiner rules Brady’s death a homicide. Police tell CNN that authorities are investigating the death.
January 2, 2015 – The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia releases a statement that they will not pursue murder charges against Hinckley for the death of Brady.
April 22, 2015 – Hinckley appears in court to request what his family calls his “unconditional release” from the mental facility at which he’s been living for the past three decades. If granted, he will live with his mother full time.
July 27, 2016 – A federal judge grants Hinckley “full-time convalescent leave” from St. Elizabeths Hospital. The order allows Hinckley to live full time with his mother, but still under certain restrictions. Hinckley will carry a GPS-equipped cell phone and will be monitored by Secret Service agents.
September 10, 2016 – Is released from St. Elizabeths Hospital.
August 17, 2018 – The court orders a mental examination of Hinckley to help determine Hinckley’s mental condition and if he is a risk if released unconditionally.
November 16, 2018 – The court rules that Hinckley can move out of his mother’s house and live independently, with roommates or a family member. The judge’s ruling also stipulates that Hinckley maintain bimonthly contact with his doctors and continue group and individual therapy.
September 10, 2019 – Following a court status conference, one of Hinckley’s attorneys tells CNN that Hinckley plans to ask for full, unconditional release from court orders that stipulate how he lives. The motion, along with another one that seeks a reduction in conditions, will be filed before the end of the year.
October 28, 2020 – A federal judge rules that Hinckley is no longer restricted to posting his work anonymously. He “may publicly display, under his own name, without restriction, his memorabilia, writings, paintings, photographs, artwork, or music created by him.”
April 8, 2021 – A lawyer for Hinckley asks the court for a status call to initiate a request for his client’s unconditional release. Mrs. Hinckley’s declining health is mentioned as contributing to the need for the appeal.
July 30, 2021 – Hinckley’s mother dies at the age of 95.
September 27, 2021 – The Justice Department reaches a deal with Hinckley to free him from the strict conditions of release that he’s been living with for several years. Judge Friedman says that he will approve the deal.
Man who shot Reagan is now posting love songs online