- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2007

John W. Hinckley Jr.’s attorneys yesterday sought unprecedented freedoms for the would-be presidential assassin, including less supervision and visits to his parents’ home in Williamsburg lasting between two to four weeks.

Hinckley, 51, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting President Reagan in 1981, wants unsupervised visits to his parents’ house, as well as the ability to get a driver’s license.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman yesterday began a week of hearings in federal court in the District to determine whether to expand Hinckley’s release and to allow his brother and sister to be in charge of monitoring him.

Barry Levine, Hinckley’s attorney, told Judge Friedman that his client “is not a danger to himself or others.”

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Zeno said that plans to expand Hinckley’s privileges are “ill-conceived.”

“Mr. Hinckley needs structure, and the [visitation] plan does not provide it,” he argued.

“Mr. Hinckley remains grandiose and narcissistic,” the prosecutor said.

Hinckley’s older brother, Scott Hinckley, testified yesterday that he hopes Hinckley can find a job or volunteer activity such as working with youths before eventually integrating into society.

“The plan would be to try to get him involved in community activities, get him established in a routine where he would feel comfortable,” Scott Hinckley testified.

Scott Hinckley, who lives in Dallas, said he would supervise his brother in Dallas if his parents could not watch over him in Williamsburg.

However, the fact that President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas might “add more controversy to the situation,” Scott Hinckley said.

Hinckley’s sister, Diane Sims, who also lives in Dallas, said Hinckley has told her that he would prefer to stay in the Williamsburg area if he eventually is released from St. Elizabeths Hospital in the District.

She said that she and her brother, Scott, would make frequent trips to Williamsburg to monitor Hinckley.

“I think he would always know we were there for him,” she said.

Mrs. Sims also said that Hinckley has expressed a desire to help take care of his parents, who are both in their 80s.

Judge Friedman yesterday asked each of Hinckley’s siblings how they view their roles if Hinckley eventually is released from the hospital.

“We would continue to help John in whatever way we could,” Scott Hinckley testified.

According to the siblings, Hinckley helps with chores, cooks meals and plays the guitar for the family during his three- or four-day trips to Williamsburg, which are permitted under a court-ordered supervision program.

Mr. Levine said that Hinckley has struck up a relationship with an unidentified woman who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in recent months at the hospital. He said the woman has made conflicting statements concerning her relationship with Hinckley.

Hinckley “has tolerated her unpredictable and even hurtful behavior,” Mr. Levine said.

Hearings on Hinckley’s proposed expanded freedoms are expected to continue through this week.

Mr. Levine also is seeking to allow Hinckley to go on supervised outings from St. Elizabeths without giving two weeks notice.

Hinckley has been at St. Elizabeths since 1982 after he was found not guilty of shooting Mr. Reagan, presidential spokes-man James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and D.C. police Officer Thomas Delahanty.

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