U.S. News - Feds urge judge: Don’t give Hinckley more freedom
Urging a judge not to loosen restrictions on out-of-hospital visits by John Hinckley, who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, Justice Department lawyers on Wednesday said Hinckley browsed through books about Reagan and presidential assassins at a Virginia bookstore in July.
Hinckley visited a Barnes and Noble store in Williamsburg, Virginia, where his mother lives, but later told his doctors that he went to see a movie, “Captain America,” federal prosecutor Sarah Chasson said at the beginning of a court hearing on Hinckley’s request to be allowed longer unsupervised visits to Williamsburg, his mother’s hometown.
“He has a long history of deceptive and secretive behavior,” Chasson said. Secret Service agents watched him browse through the books, she told the court.
Two years ago, a federal judge allowed Hinckley to make 12 visits to his mother’s home, each lasting nine nights. Having completed that series of trips, both Hinckley and doctors at a Washington mental hospital are proposing more visits of longer duration.
Such a plan would eventually lead to “the goal of fully transitioning Mr. Hinckley there,” said his lawyer, Barry Levine of Washington, DC.
“Lack of candor about attending a movie does not make him dangerous,” Levine told federal judge Paul Friedman on Wednesday.
Dr. Tyler Jones, the director of psychiatry at St. Elizabeths Hospital, testified that in July when Hinckley went to the bookstore instead of going to see the movie, he stopped in front of a shelf of books about the McKinley assassination, the Reagan assassination attempt, Reagan speeches and John F. Kennedy.
Jones testified on cross examination from prosecutors that Hinckley looked at but “did not pick up or read” the books about Reagan or presidential assassins. Jones also testified that Hinckley initially lied about seeing the movie.
But he said that when Hinckley’s medical treatment team received a Secret Service monitoring report about the incident, they confronted Hinckley about his deception.
Jones testified that Hinckley told the team he “understood that it was a big deal” but asked the team to “cut him some slack.”
As a result of Hinckley’s deception, his medical team reduced the time he can spend with his mother in Williamsburg for Christmas and he will lose some unaccompanied time there as well.