- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lawyers arguing about whether would-be presidential assassin John W. Hinckley Jr. should be granted extended leaves from St. Elizabeths hospital concluded their cases yesterday, and the decision now rests with a U.S. District Court judge.

Judge Paul L. Friedman has not said when he will make a decision. He took almost two weeks last year before announcing continued provisions for Hinckley to leave the mental hospital for supervised outings with his parents.

Hinckley, now 50, has been confined 23 years since being found not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting President Reagan, his press secretary and two policemen in March 1981.

In closing arguments yesterday on whether Hinckley can take weeklong trips to his parents’ Williamsburg home, lawyer Barry W. Levine pointed out that psychiatrists and psychologists testified last week that his client is in full or nearly complete remission from major depression, psychosis, suicidal tendencies and a narcissistic personality disorder.

“He has never attempted to escape,” Mr. Levine said about Hinckley’s more than 200 outings and 14 overnight leaves. “He has scrupulously complied with the hospital regulations.”

However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Zeno said Hinckley continues to be infatuated with women, which caused the assassination attempt. Evidence and testimony showed that Hinckley attempted to kill Mr. Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster.

“Mr. Hinckley sought out to kill the most powerful man in the world,” Mr. Zeno said. “He also continues to engage in inappropriate relationships. … His conception about his relationship with women is a risk factor.”

Hinckley’s had a 22-year relationship with inmate Leslie deVeau and friendships with a female chaplain, whom he described as a “pretty lady,” and with two interns, including one who gave him a book and photographs of Miss Foster.

U.S. attorneys previously have argued against releases or furloughs for Hinckley, saying he has a “history of deception and violence.” He has praised Adolf Hitler and wrote to since-executed serial killer Ted Bundy and to imprisoned mass murderer Charles Manson.

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