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John Hinckley Jr., Man Who Shot Ronald Reagan, Has a Girlfriend: Brother

The detail came out during a hearing to determine if the would-be assassin should be allowed to live outside a mental hospital full-time.
/ Source: NBC News

The man who shot Ronald Reagan in a twisted attempt to win the heart of actress Jodie Foster has apparently found a new love.

John Hinckley Jr. met his current girlfriend at a National Association for the Mentally Ill meeting, his brother testified at a hearing Wednesday that will determine if the would-be assassin can permanently move out of a psychiatric hospital.

Scott Hinckley described the woman as "somewhat compatible" but said he had never met her. He said their 89-year-old mother, Joann, had met her. Hinckley's sister Diane later described her as more of a platonic friend.

John Hinckley Jr., 59, has been institutionalized since being found not guilty by reason of insanity for wounding President Reagan, a Secret Service agent, a police officer and press secretary James Brady in 1981.

Shortly before the shooting, he wrote a love letter to Foster — with whom he became obsessed after seeing the movie "Taxi Driver" — saying he wanted to impress her by "sacrificing my freedom and possibly my life."

After being granted partial leave from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington in 2013, Hinckley has spent about half of each month at his mother's home in a gated community near a golf course Williamsburg, Virginia.

His lawyers and doctors are asking that he be allowed to live with her full-time — but the government says he is not ready for that step and questions what would happen to him after his mother's death.

They say that Hinckley has violated the terms of his partial release, citing one incident in which he claimed he was going to a movie but was then spotted by Secret Service agents at a bookstore, looking at books about presidents.

"Now is not the time to release the reins," prosecutor Colleen Kennedy said.

To show that his brother does take the restrictions seriously, Scott Hinckley told the court about a time they went to a movie and John made them leave because, he said, "that woman up on the screen is Jodie Foster."