- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2005

John W. Hinckley Jr. had been in St. Elizabeths Hospital for 15 years for shooting President Reagan when a newly created test administered to him showed that he was not dangerous, according to testimony yesterday in U.S. District Court.

In 1997, Hinckley scored 16.8 on the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised test. High scores, indicating potential dangerous behavior, are between 30 and 40 on the test, testified Paul Montalbano, a psychologist at St. Elizabeths.

“Psychopathy is a robust predictor of violence. Those who score high are dangerous,” Mr. Montalbano said. For violence risk appraisal, he said, “the best predictor is psychopathy checklist.”

Mr. Montalbano’s testimony was the last of a three-day hearing to decide whether Hinckley’s hospital furloughs should be increased to allow him to spend a week at a time with his 80-year-old parents in a 2,700-acre, gated-community in Williamsburg.

Government attorneys and Hinckley attorneys will make closing arguments this afternoon to Judge Paul L. Friedman. There is no indication how soon Judge Friedman will make a ruling in the case.

Last year, Judge Friedman’s decision came about two weeks after the hearing.

During the three-day hearing, much of the testimony by psychologists and psychiatrists pertained to Hinckley’s interest in women. Hinckley, now 50, has said he shot and wounded Mr. Reagan, the presidential press secretary and two police officers in March 1981 to impress actress Jodie Foster.

At St. Elizabeths, Hinckley had a 22-year romantic friendship with Leslie deVeau, who was confined by reason of insanity for killing her 10-year-old daughter. That ended on Jan. 15 because deVeau would not discuss their relationship with Hinckley’s mental treatment team.

He also showed interest in a female chaplain, a hospital intern whom he escorted to her car and another intern who shared his interest in animals — she with horses and he with cats.

Several witnesses said Hinckley’s attraction to women was natural. And, because of hospital treatment, his interest and desire for women were no longer indications that he was dangerous.

But yesterday, Dr. Robert T.M. Phillips, a government psychiatrist, said those opinions were “absurd.”

“His approach, potential infatuation and stalkinglike behavior are historical problems,” said Dr. Phillips, adding there is no positive proof that Hinckley is free of them.

“His interests with the female staff has been of a great concern to the treatment staff,” Dr. Phillips said. “He is not cured. He is in recovery, in remission.”


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