- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006

A federal judge yesterday permitted would-be presidential assassin John W. Hinckley Jr. to continue occasional overnight stays at his parents’ house in Williamsburg.

However, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman added that Hinckley’s siblings may have to take on a greater role supervising him.

“Cutting them off for no good reason would not be therapeutic,” Judge Friedman said of the visits.

Citing concerns about the health of Hinckley’s parents, government attorneys had hoped to halt the visits until a hearing could be held on the issue. Hinckley’s father is in his 80s and his mother just turned 80.

Hinckley, 51, has been a patient at St. Elizabeths Hospital since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 shooting of President Reagan. He said he shot Mr. Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster.

At the hearing yesterday, Judge Friedman said he plans to revisit the issue of Hinckley’s overnight stays once a government psychiatrist submits a written report on Hinckley. The report is expected next Tuesday.

Last year, the judge gave Hinckley the right to make overnight visits to his parents’ house. Government attorneys have expressed concerns about the arrangement.

The U.S. Justice Department last month filed documents that said the physical condition of Hinckley’s parents “has deteriorated considerably” and that hospital reports “reveal persistent tension within the Hinckley family stemming from this physical deterioration.”

Judge Friedman said he may mandate that Hinckley’s brother or sister be present during the visits, but won’t make any decisions until reading the latest psychiatric report.

Hinckley attorney Barry Levine said his client ultimately should be reintegrated into society.

Mr. Levine argued that requiring Hinckley’s brother or his sister to replace Hinckley’s father in a custodial role would be difficult because the siblings do not live close to Williamsburg.

Mr. Levine plans to seek an expanded set of conditions for Hinckley, court records show. He declined to explain what additional freedoms Hinckley could receive, but said they would be “life-changing” for Hinckley.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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