John Hinckley's return to normalcy has been years in making

Life for the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981 has progressively become more normal as he prepares to live with his mother.

John Hinckley Jr. goes to church, volunteers at a mental hospital and is on a first name basis with a record store owner. A local photographer is also mentoring him.

A judge on Wednesday ordered Hinckley's permanent release from a mental hospital. He could move in with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, as early as next month. But Hinckley has long been building a life there during periods of supervised release.

Many have expressed dismay and even outrage. But several people have welcomed Hinckley. The 61-year-old also cares for feral cats and drives his mother's Toyota to the movies and fast-food restaurants.