Doctors: Reagan shooter is recovering, not a danger

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After almost 30 years in a mental hospital, John W. Hinckley Jr., the college dropout who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan, is moving closer to the day his doctors may recommend he go free.

According to court records, a forensic psychologist at the hospital has testified that "Hinckley has recovered to the point that he poses no imminent risk of danger to himself or others."

Hinckley is now 55. Over government objections in 2009, a judge extended his furlough privileges at the home of his aging mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, to a dozen visits of 10 days each during the past year and a half. Any time he is away from his mother's home, Hinckley is required to carry a GPS-equipped cell phone for tracking purposes. And by court order, he is forbidden to talk to any media.

At the trial, the defense pleaded insanity. His lawyers did not dispute Hinckley shot and wounded Reagan in an assassination attempt as the President left a speech at a Washington hotel on March 30, 1981. Instead, defense psychiatrists portrayed Hinckley as a loner -- depressed, drifting, and obsessed with a delusional love for actress Jodie Foster.

The jury, after four days, returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. At the time, federal law put the burden on the prosecution to prove Hinckley was sane....

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