John W. Hinckley Jr., who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, has been ruled stable enough to be allowed unsupervised visits with his parents outside a psychiatric hospitals U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman overruled the objections of the former president’s family and federal officials, but he will confine Hinckley to the Washington, D.C., area and require his parents to supervise him and to maintain daily contact with the hospital, the New York Times reports.
Hinckley, 48, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shootings of Reagan, press secretary James Brady and two law enforcement officers. He has argued that he is stable enough to spend time away from the hospital without personnel who have accompanied him on hundreds of trips since 1999.
The ruling was criticized by Reagan’s wife, Nancy, and the Justice Department on behalf of all the shooting victims, including Mr. Brady, who suffered brain damage from his wounds. Mrs Reagan said: “We continue to fear for the safety of the general public.” Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said: “Mr. Hinckley’s atrocious acts forever impacted the lives of his innocent victims and their families. It is unfortunate that the concerns of the Reagan and Brady families were not accorded more weight in this decision.”
It is not clear whether the Justice Department will appeal the decision.