Thursday, July 18, 2024

Secret Service Says Hinckley Has Acted Appropriately During Historic Triangle Visits

John Hinckley Jr.

The Secret Service has trailed John Hinckley Jr. a number of times during his visits to his mother’s James City County residence, and they have not found anything out of the ordinary.

Details about Hinckley’s local visits were part of a raft of documents released Wednesday from a Feb. 25 hearing about the future of his mental health treatment.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman will eventually issue a ruling on the future of Hinckley’s visits to the area, though it is unknown when that ruling will be made. Hinckley has been allowed to visit Williamsburg since 2006, enjoying longer visits and unaccompanied time during those visits as the years have progressed. He is currently receiving treatment at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he has been a resident since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. Three others were wounded in the shooting.

Among the newly released documents is a lengthy collection of Secret Service notes detailing their on-and-off surveillance of Hinckley both here and in the Washington, D.C. area.

Their surveillance shows a low-key lifestyle, punctuated by visits to doctors, area stores and attractions, and work at Eastern State Hospital. The report notes Hinckley often returns to St. Elizabeths with cases of cat food and Diet Coke; he is devoted to caring for cats on the St. Elizabeths campus. In all, the visits are unremarkable but for the notoriety of the man making them.

A document from Patrick Canavan, CEO of St. Elizabeths Hospital where Hinckley lives, discusses his passion for art and music, specifically Bob Dylan and the Beatles. According to that document, when he’s not receiving treatment or volunteering at the hospital’s library or at Eastern State Hospital in James City County, he enjoys painting and playing his guitar.

In addition to basic mental healthcare, Hinckley receives prescribed music and art therapy while he’s in the Historic Triangle. Officials involved in his treatment believe the risk of violence does not increase with him living in Williamsburg full-time, according to the document from Canavan.

St. Elizabeths Hospital officials want to begin a plan that would culminate with Hinckley being released to his mother’s residence full-time after completing two 17-day visits and six 24-day visits without any problems, according to a court document. That document contained a lengthy history of Hinckley’s behavior in the last decade, which has been in line with what hospital officials expect of him.

During the two 17-day visits called for by the hospital, Hinckley would receive a total of nine, four-hour unaccompanied outings for social calls, recreation, shopping or dining out. After completing those two visits, he would receive 12, eight-hour unaccompanied outings for the same activities within a 30-mile radius of his mother’s home. All activities need to be approved by his care providers in advance.

Hinckley is currently allowed 10-day visits to his mother’s home. A judge ruled in 2010 that he would be allowed to have 12 of those visits, though when he completed them without incident, he was granted an unlimited number of those visits pending the court’s determination on how to proceed. He is also allowed two, 120-minute unaccompanied walks in his mother’s subdivision and two, three-hour unaccompanied outings in the community.

According to a document from St. Elizabeths Hospital, the only instance of negative interaction with Triangle citizens came when he was approached by people who asked him to leave a support meeting they were all attending. He left without incident.

Related Coverage

Jan. 29, 2013: Hinckley’s Next Hearing Set for Feb. 25
Jan. 16, 2013: Federal Judge Calls for Status Hearing on Hinckley
Dec. 29, 2012: Hospital Files Petition to Grant Hinckley More Time in James City County
Aug. 18, 2012: Local Provider Pulls Out of Hinckley Treatment, Prosecutors Ask Judge to Deny Longer Visits
March 31, 2011: Hinckley Lawyers Ask Court for More Visits to Williamsburg
June 16, 2009: Hinckley to Gain Driving Privileges, Longer Kingsmill Visits
May 21, 2009: Hinckley Wants to do Volunteer Work on Williamsburg Visits
July 21, 2008: Hinckley Doctors Seek More Visits to Williamsburg

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