Would-Be Reagan Assassin John Hinckley Jr. Leads A Strange Post-Release Life

By Sarah Norman | May 24, 2024

Who Was John Hinckley Jr.?

When Ronald Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981, the world was stunned. Who could have committed such a violent act? The man behind the gun was John Hinckley Jr., a mentally unstable young man who allegedly wanted to impress Jodie Foster. His attack injured four people: a Secret Service agent, a police officer, and White House press secretary James Brady, as well as President Reagan, and earned him 25 years of psychiatric care.

In 2016 he was released from a psychiatric institute (he was found not guilty by reason of insanity), but he was given strict orders for life on the outside world. Some of them, like not having access to firearms, make sense. Other stipulations for his release are much more weirdly specific. 

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John Hinckley Jr. sitting on fence wall in front of the White House. The picture is undated, but believed to have been taken less than a year before his attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. Source: Bettman / Cuntributor / Getty

When Ronald Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981, the world was stunned. Who could have committed such a violent act? The man behind the gun was John Hinckley Jr., a mentally unstable young man who allegedly wanted to impress Jodie Foster. His attack injured four people: a Secret Service agent, a police officer, and White House press secretary James Brady, as well as President Reagan, and earned him 25 years of psychiatric care.

In 2016 he was released from a psychiatric institute (he was found not guilty by reason of insanity), but he was given strict orders for life on the outside world. Some of them, like not having access to firearms, make sense. Other stipulations for his release are much more weirdly specific. 

 He has to live with his 90 year old mother

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source: Wikimedia Commons

After his release from psychiatric care Hinckley was moved into his 90-year-old mother’s home under orders from the federal government. This wasn’t a sudden move, but rather one that they’d been preparing him for prior to his release. Leading up to his life out of the facility Hinckley spent selected days out of the institution and in the care of his mother under strict conditions. In 2019 it was reported that Hinckley’s plans to move out of the home changed after his mother suffered a minor fall. He decided to stay in her home and perform most of the household duties. He even shops for much of the groceries and drives his mother and brother to their appointments.