Trying to bring a case against John Hinckley Jr. in the homicide of former White House press secretary James Brady could prove difficult for prosecutors, given the three decades that have passed since Brady was shot in an assassination try on Ronald Reagan and because a jury ruled that Hinckley was insane when he opened fire, an attorney and law professor said.
A medical examiner determined that Monday’s death of Brady at age 73 was a homicide, even all these years later, with an autopsy revealing the cause to be the gunshot wound to the head he suffered in 1981 and its health consequences, District of Columbia police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said in a news release Friday.
Federal prosecutors said only that they are reviewing the ruling. But bringing new charges against the 59-year-old in Brady’s death seemed unlikely, at least two people said.
Brady lived through hours of delicate surgery right after the shooting and further operations over the past 33 years, but never regained normal use of his limbs and was often in a wheelchair.
Besides partial paralysis from brain damage, Brady suffered short-term memory impairment, slurred speech and constant pain, though it didn’t stop his pursuit of stronger gun control laws.
His family said he died at his Virginia home from a series of health issues. Nancy Bull, district administrator for the Virginia medical examiner’s office, which made the ruling, declined to disclose any more results of the autopsy and referred inquiries to District police.