Psychologist: Hinckley 'would not pose a significant risk'

John Hinckley, seen here in 2003, has been allowed brief furloughs from a Washington mental hospital to visit his mother.

Story highlights

  • Testimony in 11th day in hearing on giving John Hinckley more freedoms
  • Forensic psychologist says he believes Hinckley "would not pose a significant risk"
  • Government prosecutors oppose mental hospital's visitation plan
  • Hinckley, 56, wounded four people in the 1981 attempt on President Reagan's life
A forensic psychologist endorsed a proposal to allow presidential assailant John Hinckley Jr. more freedom away from his mental hospital, giving his opinion that Hinckley "would not pose a significant risk."
Paul Montalbano's testimony in federal court on Tuesday came on the 11th day of proceedings to determine whether Hinckley can spend more time visiting his mother in Virginia and might eventually be released as a permanent outpatient.
Montalbano, an expert on risk assessments, is one of a number of mental health professionals who has been following Hinckley's case for more than a decade. He was called by Hinckley's legal team to support the view Hinckley is ready for more privileges and would not be a danger to himself or others.
Hinckley, 56, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 shootings of President Ronald Reagan, press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Thomas Delahanty.
Hinckley currently is allowed to spend 10 days a month at the Williamsburg, Virginia, home of his 86-year-old widowed mother. Montalbano said he supports St. Elizabeths Hospital's plan to first give Hinckley two visits of 17 days and then six stays of 24 days. After that St. Elizabeths wants the authority to decide whether Hinckley can be placed on "convalescent leave" to live in Williamsburg.
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Government prosecutors oppose the plan.
During court proceedings, mental health professionals have presented varied views about the man who tried to kill Ronald Reagan in an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley's experts say his most serious mental diseases are in remission, that he's made progress and can make even more if he's allowed more time outside his mental hospital.
Witnesses for the government say Hinckley is isolated and has made no friends during his trips to Virginia. They say he can be deceptive and has problematic relationships with women, most of whom he has met at St. Elizabeths.
Hinckley has not testified. His voice has occasionally been heard by court spectators when he enters the court and says "good morning" to his lawyers and the judge. He sits quietly listening to experts.
The hearing resumes on Wednesday and could conclude this week. U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman is expected to take some time to review all the evidence before issuing a ruling on the hospital's proposal.