The first pictures have emerged of John Hinckley Jr since the would-be presidential assassin was told the court-imposed conditions of release he's been living under could soon be lifted.
Hinckley shot and wounded but failed to kill former US president Ronald Reagan in March 1981. He was charged with 13 offences but was found not guilty at his trial in Washington in 1982 on the grounds of insanity.
Instead he was kept in a psychiatric hospital, and he was kept in care until 2016, when he was released with strict conditions attached.
A judge has now ruled that Hinckley, 66, can be freed from all those conditions next June as long as he continues to follow them until then and remains mentally stable.
Hinckley had been obsessed by the 1976 film Taxi Driver and actress Jodie Foster, who co-starred in it with Robert De Niro as a child prostitute, and he attempted the assassination in a bid to impress the actress.
The New York Post published the new snaps of Hinckley in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he was photographed walking through a car park after getting out of a silver Toyota.
He was holding a mask and was wearing an untucked, short-sleeve, plaid shirt, with a blue baseball cap and navy trousers.
The Post reported that the shirt appeared to be the same one that Hinckley recently wore in a YouTube performance of his song We Will See This Through.
Hinckley went into a nearby building for nearly an hour and a half. It was not clear what he did there, but the building is home to an insurance agency, a chiropractic and acupuncture clinic, and psychiatric offices.
The conditions he could be released from next year include a ban on him owning a gun and a ban on contacting Foster, Reagan’s children, the other victims of his attack or their families.
During a hearing on Monday, Judge Paul Friedman said Hinckley hadn’t displayed any symptoms of mental illness, been violent or shown an interest in weapons since 1983.
“If he hadn’t tried to kill the president, he would have been unconditionally released a long, long, long time ago,” the judge said.
The attempt on Reagan’s life wounded three other people as well as the president. One of them, press secretary James Brady, remained partially paralysed, and eventually died of his injuries in 2014, more than 30 years later.
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