John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, used a recent federal court hearing to ask for permission to pursue a career. The job? He wants to be in the music industry.
After trying to assassinate the president when he was 25, Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered into institutional psychiatric care. Released in 2016, he was given strict court orders to stay within 50 miles of his mother’s home in Virginia. The now 64-year-old man has been living with his mother and brother, reports The New York Post, but he’s looking to change that by moving to California to pursue a music industry job — and needs court approval to do so. Pursuing music may seem like a strange pivot, but he wouldn’t be the first wannabe murderer to try it.
During a federal court hearing in Washington, DC this past Tuesday, Hinckley’s wishes were made clear via his attorney, Barry Levine. Once a month, Hinckley attends music therapy. Over the years, he has been regularly playing guitar, singing, and writing songs. He has abided by the conditions to attend regular visits with health professionals, volunteer or work three days a week, and not speak to the media, but these very conditions prevent him from playing music publicly.
Prosecutor Kacie Weston said Hinckley’s move to California would give the government “great pause,” but didn’t clarify what that meant. For what it’s worth, the health professionals who first treated Hinckley say he no longer shows the same signs of mental illness that he did following the murder attempt.
The hearing’s judge, Paul L. Friedman, thinks Hinckley is ready for some change, so long as he takes small steps. During the hearing, Friedman said he will consider easing up on the restrictions, but first wants Hickley to show a plan for where he would live and what he would do after moving.
“It’s been a long time since 1981,” said Friedman. “[Hinckley is ready for] the next step. The question is what the next step is.”