Entries in John Hinkley (2)


Did Prosecutors Embellish Hinckley’s Actions?

Chaos surrounds shooting victims immediately after the assassination attempt on President Reagan, March 30, 1981, by John Hinkley Jr. outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. Injured in the shooting are Press Secretary James Brady and agent Timothy Mccarthy. Dirck Halstead/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The prosecutors arguing against the conditional release of attempted Ronald Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr. may have embellished their statements about a trip that Hinckley made to a bookstore in Williamsburg, Va., when they asserted he looked at books about President Reagan.

Last week in opening arguments of the multi-day evidentiary hearing Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Chasson told U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman that Hinckley was not to be trusted and that he was deceptive. Chasson said that on July 24, 2011, Hinckley claimed he was going to attend a movie but Secret Service agents conducting surveillance on him say he walked to the movie ticket counter but then proceeded to a Barnes and Noble where he looked at books about President Reagan and presidential assassinations.

Chasson’s statement before the court implied that Hinckley was reading the books about Reagan, but a Secret Service surveillance report entered into the court record Tuesday as an exhibit clarifies Hinckley’s actions.

“One item of note is the subject stopped for a time and looked at the shelves in the American History area that contain several books about President Reagan and his attempted assassination," the report noted.

“No unusual incidents pertaining to the subject were observed during this surveillance. The subject was observed interacting with two people, the cashier at [redacted] and the employee at the [redacted] Cinemas,” the report notes in the conclusion.

So while, Hinckley was apparently deceptive about going to the movie, the prosecutor overstated her case. Unclear, how much this will mean to the court’s decision about whether to expand Hinckley’s freedom. His attorneys say the government has been fear-mongering and that his mental health issues are in remission and treatable. Prosecutors say Hinckley is still a risk for violence and prone to deception, including being misleading about his apparent fixation on a female dentist.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting of Reagan and has been treated at St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital. Friedman is holding the hearings to consider a request by St. Elisabeth’s Hospital and Hinckley’s lawyers to permit him to have visits with his mother for durations up to 24 days. Friedman last approved 12 visits of up to 10 nights to his mother’s residence in 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thirty Years Since Failed Reagan Assassination Attempt

File: Former President Reagan leaving the Washington Hilton Hotel just moments before shots were fired on March 30, 1981. Michael Evans/Keystone/CNP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It's been thirty years since a madman attempted to kill president Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel.

The last of John Hinkley Jr.'s six bullets ricocheted off the president's limousine and wound up less than an inch from his heart as he departed a speaking engagement on March 30, 1981.

ABC News' Sam Donaldson gave the initial report from the scene, declaring, "I don't know whether the president was hit. I don't believe he was."  Donaldson reported that the president's car drove off rapidly after the shots rang out at the scene.

Newly-released secret service tapes shed light on the confusion and the chaos that took place moments after the shooting.

"Shots fired. Shots fired," a voice can be heard saying on the radio transmissions.

Secret Service agents threw the president into the bulletproof limousine, initially directing the motorcade back to the most secure place around. "Back to the White House," the voice on the tape says.

Agents at first claimed Reagan was unharmed, using his Secret Service codename:  "Rawhide is okay."

But the president was not.  He began to spit up blood. Secret Service agent Jerry Parr was lying on top of Reagan in the back of the limo. When it appeared President Reagan had been hit, they headed for the hospital.

"We want to go to the emergency room," the tape says. "Going to George Washington fast."

Agent Parr can be heard saying, "Let's hustle." Parr's decision was credited with saving the president's life.

The recording reveals no shouting. The agents remained calm, using terse phrases to make clear that their worst nightmare was unfolding.

Robyn Ringler was one of Reagan's nurses at George Washington Hospital.

"He was really close to death," she said.  "The first two evenings I took care of him, I left the hospital both nights wondering if he would still be there the next day."

At the time of the shooting, Vice President George Bush was unreachable while flying back from Texas. Secretary of State Alexander Haig famously asserted his authority.

In just ten days, Reagan bounced back.  Thirty years later, his wounded press secretary, Jim Brady, leads the fight for gun control.  His shooter, John Hinckley Jr., now 55, regularly asks for more time away from the mental hospital where he's been incarcerated since being found not guilty of the attempted assassination by reason of insanity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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