Monday’s death of President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary James S. Brady has been ruled a homicide resulting from the gunshot wound he suffered in the assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981, more than three decades ago.
The ruling was made by the medical examiner’s office in Virginia, where Brady, 73, died in an Alexandria retirement community, and was announced Friday by Gwendolyn Crump, the D.C. police department’s chief spokeswoman.
There was no immediate word on whether the shooter, John W. Hinckley Jr., who has been treated at St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital since his trial, could face new criminal charges. Hinckley, 59, was found not guilty by reason of insanity after he shot Reagan and three others on March 30, 1981.
But the decision to pronounce Brady’s death a homicide 33 years after he was wounded outside the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue NW raises questions about whether prosecutors can, and will, try to get around double jeopardy — the legal concept that protects a person from being tried twice for the same crime — and pursue a murder charge.