For a second, I thought it was The Onion: James Brady’s Death Was a Homicide, Medical Examiner Rules

The death of James Brady — President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary who was wounded in the attempt on Reagan’s life in March 1981 — was a homicide, the medical examiner for the Northern District of Virginia ruled Friday.
The medical examiner said Brady died as a result of the grievous injuries he suffered 33 years ago, which means that gunman John Hinckley Jr. could be charged with Brady’s murder.

via James Brady’s Death Was a Homicide, Medical Examiner Rules | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth.

I had the idea that there was a limit of time you could apply a murder rap to somebody when the victim did not die within a reasonable time frame. Don’t ask me why, but a year keeps popping in my head. 33 years seems to be a tad of an exaggeration.

The medical examiner’s ruling has the potential to open the door to federal murder charges against Hinckley, who is now a mental patient at St. Elizabeth’s hospital in suburban Washington, said NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams on News4.

Nobody would be trying to use his death as political fundraising and PR strategy, would they?  Tap-dancing on your own dead seems rather tackier than usual.

12 thoughts on “For a second, I thought it was The Onion: James Brady’s Death Was a Homicide, Medical Examiner Rules”

  1. 1 year or 33 years, who gives a crap? SOB was shooting at Reagan and had Brady not been in the line of fire and caught a bullet for him…well, who knows.

    There is no statute of limitations on homicide. Look it up.

    1. Yeah, but this isn’t about statute of limitations (which is time to prosecute murder) it’s about whether one can possibly count an assault as lethal if the victim lives for 33 years following it, to an age which doesn’t necessarily even reflect an artificially short lifespan. Can you imagine how many other cases could turn assaults into murders like this with a sufficiently creative coroner?

      1. Indeed. This pretty much sets it as a precedent that if you assault someone at any time in their life, you can be charged with manslaughter upon their death regardless of how much later said death occurs.

        Or to put it another way, Brady survived after he was shot for LONGER THAN I HAVE BEEN ALIVE.

        1. I sort of wonder if this isn’t just some stupid stunt so Brady’s Wikipedia page can say he was fatally shot or something. After all, that means he is a True Hero who died on the gun cross for our sins.

          1. Of course it is. They think getting a martyr out of this will be the push they finally need to get rid of guns forever.

            Granted, they’ve been thinking the mass shooting epidemic would be what they finally needed to get rid of guns forever, and THAT backfired spectacularly.

    1. Hinkley was found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity in the original trial. Even if they do bring him back for an upgrade/do-over what makes anybody think there will be a different verdict?

      If they charge him it’s just window dressing.

      stay safe.

    2. Not a statute of limitations deal. Just that some states have a statutory limit that defines a cut off where the initial assualt isn’t considered to be fatal if the victim survives “x” period (usually a year and a day, which I believe derives from common law). Virginia, AFAIK, doesn’t recognize any such limit – just, “was this death the result of the initial injury?”

      But Hinkley was already tried on the shooting, and found not guilty (doesn’t matter that it was not guilty by reason of insanity). He can’t be tried again. Being as he wasn’t guilty of pulling the trigger (because he was Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs at the time), he isn’t guilty of the eventual consequences, either. But IANAL.

      As for how reasonable it is, I haven’t read the ME report. If Brady would have lived longer except for the shooting, he can be said to have died from homicide, even if he only died a little early.

      But, yeah, 33 years is a bit of a stretch for causation. He died at 73, which is well within he normal range for a man of his birth cohort.

  2. I think if you shoot somebody and he stays alive for another 30 years, it’s safe to say you didn’t kill him.

    Permanently cripple and leave him handicapped for the rest of his life maybe, but not kill.

Feel free to express your opinions. Trolling, overly cussing and Internet Commandos will not be tolerated .