The man who tried to kill Ronald Reagan has admitted for the first time that he was responsible for the death of the former president’s press secretary.
John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington DC on March 30, 1981 – hitting Reagan within an inch of his heart, nearly killing him.
He also punched White House press secretary James Brady in the head, leaving him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
But Brady survived and became a gun control advocate, with former President Bill Clinton even naming a bill after him.
He eventually died on August 4, 2014, at the age of 73, with a medical examiner concluding that he died from the effects of the head injury he sustained 33 years earlier.
The coroner ruled at the time that Brady’s death was a homicide. Now Hinckley Jr has finally taken responsibility for his death in a great interview.
Speaking to Piers Morgan, the 67-year-old ex-con said he “accepts” that he killed Brady
Brady died on August 4, 2014, with a medical examiner concluding that he died from the effects of the head injury he sustained 33 years earlier
Piers Morgan repeatedly urged the 67-year-old ex-con in an exclusive interview on the matter of Brady’s death.
“He died from the injuries he sustained. It was classified as manslaughter by the coroner because of the year and the day rule that you couldn’t be tried for murder,” Morgan said.
‘But do you Now accept that you were guilty of his murder for firing the gun at James Brady that caused the catastrophic injuries and subsequent death?’
At first, Hinckley tried to hold back, replying, “I wouldn’t say that, but I certainly sustained him devastating injuries.
“But I believe he lived another thirty years or so. So I can’t really say I’m the cause of his murder.’
Still, Morgan insisted, “You did kill him,” to which Hinckley Jr. said, ‘I understand. ‘But [do] do you accept that you killed him?’ asked Morgan. “I’d say yes,” the would-be killer finally replied.
Brady was hit in the head by a bullet when Hinckley Jr opened fire on former President Ronald Reagan in March 1981
Brady survived, but became paralyzed and in a wheelchair. He is pictured here with Reagan and First Lady Nancy at the White House press room reopening after the shooting
The exchange took place in Hinckley Jr.’s first international television interview. since he was released from prison in June.
He insisted he was a changed man, unable to even remember the details of what he did on that fateful day in 1981.
“I just remembered I was in a hotel in Washington DC and happened to have the newspaper in front of me and I saw the president’s schedule for that day, and that’s how I knew where he would be that day,” Hinckley Jr. told me.
“And I think I went to have breakfast and go to the hotel.
“Back then it was pretty easy to get close to the president and of course that’s all changed now…and unfortunately I got through the crime.”
In addition to shooting Reagan and Brady, Hinckley also injured a police officer, Thomas Delahanty, and a Secret Service agent, Tim McCarthy.
He was said to have been motivated at the time by his obsession with actress Jodie Foster and her film, Taxi Driver.
“I first saw her, I believe in the movie Taxi Driver in 1976, I believe,” Hinckley Jr told Morgan on Monday, adding that he became so obsessed with her that he went to Yale University to “teach her.” follow and try to find her.
“That didn’t work out well, so my thinking became very negative, and that’s why I continued shooting.”
He was ultimately found not guilty of the insanity shooting at his trial in 1982, and was released from his psychiatric medical facility to live with his mother under strict restrictions.
Hinckley Jr was finally released from all judicial restrictions last June.
Hinckley fired at the president and his entourage outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington DC on March 30, 1981. Secret service agents, police officers and bystanders take action immediately after the shots are fired.
This photo, taken by presidential photographer Mike Evens on March 30, 1981, shows police and Secret Service agents responding to the assassination attempt on then-President Reagan
Authorities rushed Brady to an ambulance after he was shot in the head
He now says that he thinks it is so terrible what I have done.
‘I was In the midst of a really serious mental illness, I had a really severe depression and delusions. When I look back on it now, it’s like a completely different life. I just can’t imagine doing what I did.’
Morgan then asked him, “You wanted to kill President Reagan, didn’t you,” to which Hinckley Jr. said, “I suppose so, then I did. I’m just so glad I didn’t, that I didn’t succeed.’
He then acknowledged that if he succeeded, he would probably still be behind bars and said he understood why some people are angry that he was released.
“I understand, because it was such a serious, heinous crime,” Hinckley said.
“But it’s been 41 years and a lot has happened to me in those 41 years. And I hope to show the public that I’m a good person now and try to do some good things with my music and my art.”
He said he has had no contact with the victims of the shooting or their families, explaining that he is now on two drugs, including an antidepressant which he believes is “effective.”
And when pressed by the TalkTV host about the difference between him and Mark Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon and is still behind bars, Hinckley said he “sees a big difference because Mark Chapman has been found guilty.” .
“He’s been in prison all these years. I’ve never been in jail, Piers. I was in hospital for 35 years, was treated and found not guilty of insanity and I was treated all these years.
“My family was behind me and I had a great lawyer…I feel like my release was very justified.”
Hinckley later added, “I would say I have a very good track record.
“I didn’t just get out of the hospital overnight. I was released over the course of several years. My judge gave me freedom in small steps to see how I would do and I have always done well with the freedoms he gave me.
‘I have now proved to be a very peaceful person. And that’s how I live my life.’
He concluded, “For the freedoms I’ve been given over the past 10 or 15 years, I’ve demonstrated a good track record of being a good, law-abiding citizen.”
Hinckley Jr allegedly motivated by his obsession with Jodie Foster
He was found not guilty of insanity in the shooting and now insists he is a different man after being released in June.
Hinckley is now trying to move on with his life and pursue a music career, but he said it was difficult because his concerts were backfired and the venues pulled out of the deal.
But, he said, he decided to do some interviews to prove to the public: “I’m not the person I was all those years ago.
“There’s been an image of me for years, a very negative image, and I’m trying to change that… to show that I’m a totally changed person.”
He added that he would like forgiveness “from the general public” and from the families of the victims.
“I wouldn’t blame them if they don’t forgive me,” Hinckley said. “But I wish they would.”