WASHINGTON – John Hinckley Jr. (search), who tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981, is seeking five-day, unsupervised visits with his parents at their home in Virginia.
Late last year, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman granted Hinckley shorter visits, limited to the Washington area, with his elderly parents.
Hinckley, who has lived at St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital (search) in Washington since he was acquitted in 1982 by reason of insanity, now wants to expand those visits to five-day trips every two weeks to Williamsburg, Va., about three hours south of the nation's capital.
The judge denied a similar request by Hinckley in his ruling last year.
In a recent court filing, Hinckley's lawyers argued the visits would pose no danger to Hinckley or others and that they would "further the therapeutic goal of reintegrating" him into society.
"Because Mr. Hinckley ultimately seeks to reside on a permanent basis with his parents at their residence at some point in the future, it is important to start this transition and allow Mr. Hinckley to begin to integrate himself into that community," his attorneys wrote.
The judge has set a Nov. 8 hearing on the motion, which prosecutors will contest. "We do intend to oppose the request," Channing Phillips, chief of staff of the U.S. attorney's office, said Wednesday.
According to the filing, Hinckley has taken six day visits and one of two permitted overnight visits in the Washington area since the judge's ruling on Dec. 17, 2003, that allowed the unsupervised trips with his parents.
His lawyers say Hinckley has visited a number of restaurants, malls, museums and a movie theater. He also stayed overnight at a hotel.
All of the trips, the court papers say, have been without incident.
"Mr. Hinckley's psychiatric condition has remained stable, and there have been no indications of narcissistic or attention-seeking behaviors," the filing said.
While the trips have taken place off hospital grounds without supervision by medical staff, they have all been conducted under the watchful eye of Secret Service (search).
Hinckley, 49, was acquitted in the shootings of Reagan and three others outside a Washington hotel in March 1981. Reagan was nearly killed; press secretary James Brady (search) was permanently disabled. The shooting was said to be an attempt by Hinckley to impress actress Jodie Foster (search).
The Reagan family and others strongly objected to Friedman's ruling last year granting the unsupervised visits, and government lawyers insisted Hinckley remained a threat.
The judge ruled that "under appropriate conditions" Hinckley would not be a danger to himself or others.