Sunday, May 23, 2010

John W. Hinckley, Jr.

John W. Hinckley, Jr., future would-be assassin of President Ronald Reagan and the world's number one Jodie Foster fan, graduated from Highland Park High School in 1973. A photo of his senior year photo can be seen here. The above, undated photo, is of Hinckley from his Texas Tech University days.

On June 21, 1982 Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity of attempting to assassinate President Reagan (and related crimes) the previous year. The motivation offered for Hinkley's actions was that he was trying to impress a young actress named Jodie Foster who had co-starred in the 1976 film Taxi Driver. Hinckley had seen the film numerous times and had become obsessed with Foster.

Since 1982 Hinckley has resided at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. and, at least during the early years, has kept himself busy with writing to people like Ted Bundy (correspondence became difficult after Bundy's execution in 1989) and Squeaky Fromme. In 1988 the Secret Service was informed by a mail-order business that the lovelorn failed assassin was trying to obtain a nude drawing of Ms. Foster.

Despite objections from prosecutors, in recent years Hinckley has been awarded more freedom in overnight vists away from St. Elizabeth's. In 2009 family members and hospital staff lobbied for extending his visits to his mother's home from six nights in a row to nine. They are also trying to get Hinckley a driver's licence.

Court documents related to the hospital furloughs reveal that the once (and possibly still) Beatles obsessed mental patient has recently been recording music. One song, entitled Ballad of an Outlaw, was characterized by prosecutors as having lyrics "reflecting suicide and lawlessness." These same court documents offer a not entirely welcome window in Hinckley's sex life - which you can read about for yourself here if you are so inclined...

See a dramatization, hosted by President Gerald Ford's son, Steven, of John Hinckley seeing Taxi Driver for the fourteenth time here.

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