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Hinckley haunted by label of assassin; Wants to be seen as artist, musician

The man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan more than 30 years ago said he would like to be known as something other than a would-be assassin.

John Hinckley made the statement to a doctor who interviewed him in the past year at a Washington mental hospital. The statement and other information about Hinckley's life are part of hundreds of pages of documents prepared for court hearings in Hinckley's case.

Hinckley, who shot and wounded Reagan in 1981, is seeking more freedom from the hospital. He has been allowed to visit his mother's home in Williamsburg, Va., for up to 10 days. Government attorneys say his trips should stay at 10 days.

A jury found Hinckley to be insane when he shot Reagan in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster. He has spent most of the past three decades at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington. In recent years, doctors have said his mental illness has been in remission.

Hinckley said he still thinks about the actress, but only to ask himself "what was it about her that made me do this."

"I don't know. I must have been really crazy," he said.

Hearings in the case ended this month, and a judge said he would rule in April or May.

The court documents include reports by three doctors who spoke with Hinckley.

A doctor who testified for the government said Hinckley regrets not being able to show or sell the paintings he does, mostly landscapes. "I would like to be known as something other than the would-be assassin," Hinckley said.

Another doctor reported that around the time Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in January 2011, Hinckley commented: "Wow. Is that how people see me?" Then he vented frustration about being unable to change the public's perception.

"I don't have a microphone in my hand. I don't have the video camera. So no one can hear my music. No one can see my art. I have these other aspects of my life that no one knows about. I'm an artist. I'm a musician. Nobody knows that. They just see me as the guy who tried to kill Reagan," he said.

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