- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2003

A team of psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental-health experts agree that John W. Hinckley Jr. should be granted unsupervised leaves from St. Elizabeths Hospital, where he has been confined since trying to kill President Reagan in 1981, a psychiatrist testified yesterday in U.S. District Court.

“He’s in total remission,” Dr. Sidney Binks, a member of the hospital’s treatment team, and a neuropsychologist, told Judge Paul L. Friedman. “He would not be dangerous.”

Hinckley, 48, was expressionless throughout the hearing, except for a slight smile when he entered the courtroom and spotted his parents and attorneys. He was dressed in a black suit and red tie.

Dr. Binks was the only witness yesterday in the scheduled three-day hearing.

Other mental-health experts are expected to testify today and tomorrow.

Hinckley is already allowed supervised leaves from the D.C. hospital, but his attorneys want him to be permitted to leave without the supervision of hospital personnel. They said his parents should be his sole supervisors.

He could also be granted overnight stays at the Williamsburg, Va., home of his parents, John and JoAnn Hinckley.

Hinckley was a 24-year-old aspiring songwriter when arrested March 30, 1981, after shooting Mr. Reagan, presidential Press Secretary James T. Brady, Secret Service Agent Timothy J. McCarthy and Metropolitan Police Officer Thomas K. Delahanty with a 22-caliber pistol outside the Washington Hilton Hotel.

Mr. Brady suffered permanent brain damage from his wounds.

A jury found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity in June 1982.

Investigators said the shooting was connected to Mr. Hinckley’s infatuation with actress Jodie Foster, whom he had been stalking at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. The investigators found a handwritten note inside Mr. Hinckley’s hotel room that stated: “Jodie, I’m asking you to please look into your heart and at least give me the chance, with this historical deed, to gain your respect and love.”

During cross-examination yesterday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert R. Chapman, Dr. Binks said he and Hinckley had discussed Miss Foster “a number of times.”

Dr. Binks also acknowledged under questioning that Hinckley had developed close relationships with Leslie deVeau, also an inmate, and hospital employee Jeannette Wick.

DeVeau, hospitalized after being found not guilty by reason of insanity for killing her 10-year-old daughter, frequently strolled St. Elizabeth’s grounds with Hinckley and became known as his fiancee, even after she was discharged.

She was curious about Hinckley’s feelings toward Miss Foster and bought a book about her that she gave to him. When hospital personnel found the book and 57 photos of Miss Foster, they temporarily stopped Hinckley’s supervised leaves, according to testimony yesterday.

Hinckley’s relationship with Miss Wick lasted about two months.

“At some point, he became infatuated,” Dr. Binks said. He also said Miss Wick loaned books to Hinckley and that they would sit and discuss them.

Secret Service agents tailed Hinckley on trips with hospital personnel to shopping malls, bowling alleys, theaters and the beach.

They also watched as he walked around the grounds of St. Elizabeths, worked at the library and did paperwork for the hospital, Dr. Binks said.

“We have no objection to the Secret Service shadowing him, to constantly [watching] him when he’s with his parents. We have no objection,” said Barry William Levine, Hinckley’s attorney.

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