WASHINGTON — Monday’s death of President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary James Brady has been ruled a homicide as a result of the gunshot wound he suffered in the assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981, more than three decades ago.
The announcement was made by the medical examiner’s office in Virginia, where Brady, 73, died in an Alexandria retirement community, and was confirmed Friday by Gwendolyn Crump, the District of Columbia police department’s chief spokeswoman.
There was no immediate word on whether the shooter, John 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 in Northwest Washington raises questions about whether prosecutors can, and will, try to get around double jeopardy — the legal concept forbidding a person to be tried twice for the same crime — and pursue a murder charge.
Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Friday that prosecutors are reviewing the ruling and that his office would have ‘‘no further comment at this time.’’
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