US & Canada

John Hinckley requests to live outside mental hospital

Archive photo of John Hinckley Jr taken in 2003 Image copyright AP
Image caption John Hinckley Jr, seen here in 2003, wishes to live outside a mental health hospital

A lawyer for the man who shot President Ronald Reagan has told a court his client should be permanently released from his mental health hospital.

John Hinckley Jr shot the president, who survived, and three others outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington in 1981.

Mr Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity but was sent for treatment to a Washington hospital.

Currently, he spends 17 days per month at his mother's home in the nearby state of Virginia.

Mr Hinckley's lawyer, Barry Levine, told a federal court on Wednesday that the would-be assassin is "clinically ready" to leave St Elizabeth's Hospital permanently because he has been in "full and stable remission" for more than two decades.

The lawyer is asking a judge to grant his client "convalescent leave", which would allow him to live outside the hospital with regular visits to mental health professionals.

But Prosecutor Colleen Kennedy disagreed and said more restrictions and conditions are necessary to keep Mr Hinckley and others safe.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Hinckley spends 17 days a month at his mother's house in Virginia

His mother is 89 years old and lives near Williamsburg, Virginia.

While living with her, he is allowed to live a normal life that includes unsupervised shopping and dining out, and occasional contact with the US Secret Service.

Mr Reagan was just 69 days into his presidency when the attempt was made on his life.

The former president suffered a punctured lung, but survived after being rushed to a nearby hospital.

Three others were wounded, including White House aide James Brady who was shot in the head and suffered brain damage and partial paralysis.

A Secret Service agent and a police officer suffered lesser wounds.

A gun control law passed in 1993 was nicknamed The Brady Bill and the White House press briefing room bears Brady's name. He died in August of last year at the age of 73.

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