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Hinckley’s sister says he doesn’t bother anybody

WASHINGTON — The sister of the man who shot President Ronald Reagan said Tuesday he “doesn’t bother anybody” while on release from a mental hospital and that he should be allowed to spend more time at his mother’s Virginia home.

Diane Sims made the statement Tuesday at a court hearing in Washington for her brother, John Hinckley, who wants to spend more time outside Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, where he has been confined for some 30 years.

Hinckley, 56, was found by a jury to be insane when he shot and wounded Reagan outside a Washington hotel in 1981. Doctors say his mental illness has been in remission for years, however, and a judge has granted Hinckley increasing freedom from the hospital in recent years, including 10-day visits to his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Va. Sims said her brother goes about his business while in the town.

“He doesn’t bother anybody. He is not pointed out,” Sims said of her brother, adding that people in the town have been “very tolerant, very nice.”

Sims said she doesn’t believe her brother poses a risk to himself or others and that she has never seen him do anything violent while on release. She said she has no reservations about his visits being increased to 17 and 24 days and, eventually, to him living full-time outside the hospital in his mother’s hometown.

Sims, who lives in Texas, was asked whether Hinckley might be better off living near her. But she said her brother wants to live in Virginia and that others likely wouldn’t approve of Hinckley being closer to her Dallas home.

“When it comes right down to it we first need to consider the fact that President Bush lives not 10 minutes from me in Dallas,” she said.

President George W. Bush bought a home in the upscale Dallas neighborhood of Preston Hollow after leaving the White House.