June 21st 1982: John Hinckley Jr. acquitted
On this day in 1982 the man who shot President Ronald Reagan, John Hinckley Jr., was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He tried to kill the President on March 30th 1981 to impress the young actress Jodie Foster. He became obsessed with her after seeing her in ‘Taxi Driver’ and felt by killing the President and going down in history he would be her equal; he saw JFK’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald as a role model. He was caught at the scene but, to great public outcry, was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Hinckley remains under institutional psychiatric care. The public was so dismayed by the verdict that several states changed their rules regarding the defence and Congress passed the Insanity Defense Reform Act in 1984 to limit the use of the defence.