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Man Who Shot Reagan Allowed Longer Stays Out Of Mental Hospital

In a Nov. 18, 2003 file photo, John Hinckley Jr. arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington.

John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, has been granted more time outside the mental hospital where he's been confined for almost three decades.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman ordered that Hinckley be allowed to visit his mother's home in Williamsburg, Va., for up to 17 days at a time, tacking a week on to the 10-day visits that were already permitted away from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity after he shot Reagan and three others on March 30, 1981.

The Associated Press says:

"Hinckley must make at least eight successful 17-day visits away from the hospital before any requests to increase his time in Williamsburg beyond that will even be considered.

"In court hearings before the ruling, Hinckley's lawyer, Barry Levine, had asked for his visits to be expanded to 17 and 24 days, arguing that there is no evidence Hinckley is a danger to himself or others. Attorneys for the U.S. government, however, argued that Hinckley is 'capable of great violence' and told the judge that granting expanded privileges was 'premature and ill conceived.'"

"Friedman wrote that Hinckley's depression and psychotic disorder are in full remission and that he had not displayed violent behavior in more than 29 years."

The Washington Post reports:

"Friedman's order also allows Hinckley to drive alone to specific destinations -- which Levine said will help him integrate in Williamsburg -- though it requires he carry a GPS enabled cell phone during unsupervised activities. Friedman wrote that court and mental health officials would evaluate Hinckley's progress after eight 17-day visits."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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