DALLAS (1080 KRLD) – A Federal Judge has ruled that former Highland Park resident John Hinkley Junior is no longer a threat. The ruling means the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 could be released from a psychiatric hospital as early as next month.
Hinkley, who was born in Oklahoma, graduated from Highland Park High School in 1973.
School records show he was elected to the student council and was a member of the school’s Rodeo Club. He also had a fascination with poetry.
“In English class he wrote a lot of poetry, I remember.” said classmate Chris Koustoubardis. “That’s the main thing that sticks out. He liked poetry.”
He doesn’t remember what the poems were about. That was more than 43 years ago.
Memories tend to flicker about an obscure classmate who is suddenly put on the world stage. But Koustoubardis says in the early ’70s, Hinkley was a “super-nice guy.”
It was March 30, 1981 that the dark and mentally-twisted side of Hinkley suddenly rocketed out of nowhere. “I never saw that side of him. I don’t think anybody did. Not in Highland Park, anyway.” said Koustoubardis.
The yearbook picture shows an average high school kid, with eyes that look strikingly like a young Jack Nicholson. By fate, and the spelling of their last names, the pictures of Koustoubardis and Hinkley are side-by-side.
Which put Koustoubardis in an odd and unwanted position.
News crews swarmed into Highland Park after the President was shot. The yearbook became a focal point. Unfortunately when one photographer zoomed in to, what he thought was Hinkley, he showed Koustoubardis.
“I’ll never forget, my mother saw it on TV and she called me and said Chris, what have you done?”
(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)