27 April 2019

27th April 1982 - Hinckley trial

According to the New York Times, John W. Hinckley Jr. went on trial on 27th April 1982 for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. He was acquitted by reason of insanity and sent to a psychiatric institution and has only recently been released to live with his mother, now in her nineties, with strict conditions about his movement and use of the internet and any contact with Jodie Foster.

Hinckley became obsessed with Jodie Foster after becoming obsessed with the film Taxi Driver in which Jodie Foster played a teenage prostitute. Hinckley stalked her when she went to Yale. His attempt to kill Reagan came out of his obsession with Jodie Foster. He hit Reagan with a ricochet, and wounded 3 others.

According to Wikipedia he signed up to a writing course at Yale and slipped things under Foster's door. He wrote before the attempt 'Over the past seven months I've left you dozens of poems, letters and love messages in the faint hope that you could develop an interest in me. Although we talked on the phone a couple of times I never had the nerve to simply approach you and introduce myself.... The reason I'm going ahead with this attempt now is because I cannot wait any longer to impress you.'

This was devastating and deeply depressing to the young Jodie Foster. She had gone to Yale University after being a child star but her anonymity and security was totally shattered by the stalking and subsequent events.

The acquittal by reason of insanity caused a lot of controversy and afterwards some states revised laws about the use of the insanity defence in a criminal prosecution.

In the film Taxi Driver, Travis, the taxi driver, attended a public rally where he planned to assassinate the president.

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