No charges for Reagan shooter Hinckley in Brady death – Reuters
WASHINGTON(Reuters) – Federal prosecutors will not charge
John Hinckley Jr. in the death of former White House press
secretary James Brady, even though a medical examiner ruled his
death a homicide. Brady was shot in the head during an
assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
The shooting left Brady partially paralyzed and his death in
August at age 73 was attributed to wounds from the shooting in
Washington’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement that
the decision not to pursue charges against Hinckley was made
after a review of the law, the history of the case, and the
circumstances of Brady’s death.
Barry Levine, Hinckley’s attorney, said he was not surprised
by prosecutors’ decision, given the length of time since the
shooting and the circumstances of the case.
“Mr. Hinckley is haunted by the tragedy that his conduct,
more than 30 years ago, created,” he said.
According to the statement from prosecutors, because a jury
in 1982 found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity,
prosecutors could not argue that he was sane when he shot Brady.
District of Columbia courts also abided by the “year and a
day rule” before 1987, which mandated that homicide charges
could only be brought if the victim died within a year and a day
of the injury causing death, the statement said.
An autopsy report completed last month showed that the
gunshot wound made it difficult for Brady to control his saliva
and to eat, which led to aspiration pneumonia and other
illnesses, the statement said.
When Brady died in Alexandria, Virginia, he had aspiration
pneumonia. The coroner concluded his death was caused by the
gunshot wound and its consequences.
Hinckley also wounded Reagan, a police officer and a Secret
Service agent in the attack outside the Washington Hilton Hotel.
Hinckley, 59, has been at St. Elizabeths psychiatric
hospital for more than 32 years.