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Will James Brady's shooter be charged with murder?

The death on Monday of former White House Press Secretary James Brady took a strange twist Friday, which could spell trouble for the man who shot him 33 years ago.  

Brady was shot in the head in 1981, the victim of an attack by John Hinckley Jr. meant to kill President Ronald Reagan. 

News reporter: "The president being thrown into his car. On the ground, James Brady, the press secretary. And under that, that's Mr. Brady there now."

The bullet caused paralysis, memory loss, and slurred speech, but it didn't kill him. At least, it didn't kill him immediately.  

That's because an autopsy completed on Friday determined the cause of death to be that same bullet that entered him 33 years ago.

What does that mean for the man who fired the bullet? NBC’s Pete Williams explains:  

"They, in theory, could file murder charges because, as I say, there's no statute of limitations on murder."

Hinckley was originally found not guilty by reason of insanity, and he has been in psychiatric institutions ever since. (Video via MSNBC)

​And ironically, outrage over Hinckley's verdict in 1982 caused politicians to weaken the insanity defense he would presumably use for any new murder charges today.

But Hinckley's lawyer told the Washington Post he's not worried, saying there are “insurmountable legal barriers to any prosecution.” 

What barriers? Basically, prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that were it not for Hinckley's bullet, Brady would be alive — a difficult task, since Brady died at the age of 73.  

Bloomberg reports the medical office is releasing no other information, and prosecutors have been mum on whether charges will be filed.

Whether the bullet killed him or not, it did turn Brady into a lifelong gun control activist. 

He lobbied successfully for the 1993 Brady Law mandating background checks for gun purchases, and spoke often about gun crime. (Video via C-SPAN)

"I know  I would not be sitting here in this damn wheelchair if we had common sense legislation," Brady said.

Brady has already been added to Washington's 2014 homicide list. He is the city's 71st homicide this year. 

Images Provided by Getty Images and The National Archives 

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The Latest News Headlines

  • A 15-year-old Florida teen is in custody at the U.S.-Canada border, hours after police discovered the body of a woman believed to be his missing grandmother in a shallow grave near the boy’s home, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported. Logan Tyler Mott was detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as he tried to enter Canada from Buffalo, New York, sheriff’s deputies said. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office had called Mott “armed and dangerous” and a person of interest in the death of his grandmother, 53-year-old Kristina June French. Mott was being watched by French at her Neptune Beach home while his father, a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office corrections officer, was on vacation. Mott’s mother, Carrie Campbell-Mott, said the boy’s father, Eric Mott, was on vacation with his girlfriend. Eric Mott took an Uber home from the airport Wednesday after French never showed up to get them, Campbell-Mott said. When they got home, the door to their home was open and the house was ransacked, Campbell-Mott said. Eric Mott's guns were missing from a gun safe, Campbell-Mott said. French’s home in the Mayport area also was ransacked. Her weapons were gone, along with her Dodge Dart. Mott and French were reported missing after Logan didn't show up to high school on Monday or Tuesday. French also didn't show up for work Monday or Tuesday. A warrant was issued for his arrest Thursday on a charge of auto theft, deputies said. Originally, deputies believed that Tyler Mott and French may have been traveling together in the Dodge Dart. A missing child alert was issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The teen and the missing vehicle were spotted Thursday on surveillance video in south central Pennsylvania, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported. In a statement, Campbell-Mott she was “relieved” that her son was in custody. “We just ask for everyone to give us time to sort out what happened,” Campbell-Mott said. “That no matter what, Logan is our child and we love him and are standing by him to help in any way. We want to find out what happened to Kristina and we need time for that to happen.” Campbell-Mott said a sheriff’s detective will fly to meet Logan on Saturday. In a statement, the May Institute, a nonprofit organization that employed French, said it was “truly devastated” to learn of her death. “Kristina was a friend and a role model to so many people. … She was a true champion for people with disabilities and advocated tirelessly for human rights. “We have lost a beautiful person and she will be dearly missed. It is a very sad day.”
  • UPDATE 11/24/17 11:16 pm: JSO says Logan Mott has been detained by US Customs and Border Protection, as he tried to enter Canada from the Buffalo, New York area. ORIGINAL STORY: It's a tragic update in the days-long search to find a missing 15-year-old and his grandmother.  The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announcing Friday afternoon they do believe foul play was involved, as they've recovered what they believe to be the body of 53-year-old Kristina French in the backyard of a Neptune Beach home connected to the two.  'The burial site was excavated today and human remains were located. They appear consistent with the description of Kristina French, but there will be no positive identification until the autopsy is completed by the medical examiner,' says JSO's Director of Investigations, Ron Lendvay.  At this point, JSO says 15-year-old Logan Mott is still missing, as is the silver Dodge Dart. Police say they do believe Mott is alive and in that vehicle.  'We have video surveillance of an individual we believe to be Logan Mott, with what we believe to be the car that's missing in this case, in south central Pennsylvania yesterday at 1:15 pm,' says Lendvay.  JSO says they're in the process of obtaining an arrest warrant for Mott for auto theft. He's also considered a person of interest in connection to the death of the person found in the backyard of the home on Seagate Avenue.  Police say Mott may also be in possession of firearms, as guns had been reported missing from that home, so if you do see him, you’re urged to call 911.
  • Phoenix teenager Jamal Hinton and grandmother Wanda Hence have turned their internet fame from 2016 into a tradition. >> Read more trending news Last year, Hence thought she was texting her grandson to invite him to dinner in a group text, but she was actually texting Jamal Hinton, 17. Hinton asked who was texting him and was told it was his grandmother. “I really thought it was my grandma, so I had to ask for a picture to make sure,” Hinton told BuzzFeed. The result was a selfie exchange from Hence to which Hinton replied, 'You're not my grandma!' But Hinton asked if he could still get a plate of food despite the mistake. Hence replied, “Of course you can. That's what grandmas do ... feed everyone.' KNXV reported that Hinton joined Hence’s family for dinner and is now her 'honorary grandson.' When Hinton arrived and shook Hence’s hand, the two soon embraced for a hug. 'I'd never seen her before and she welcomed me into her home,' Hinton told KNXV. 'That shows me how great of a person she is. I'm thankful for people like that.' 'He always has an open invite to our house for Thanksgiving,' Hence told WVEC Friday.   
  • Heads up, St. Johns County residents. The county says the St. Augustine Beach Pope Road beach access point will be closed beginning, Monday, November 27th, due to an Army Corps of Engineers beach renourishment project.  That project is expected to last through spring 2018, with the Pope Road beach access point remaining closed that entire time.  The county say the renourishment will help critically-eroded areas between Anastasia State Park and 8th Street in St. Augustine Beach.  The beach will remain open outside of work areas, but you're urged to use caution in the area.  For more information, click HERE.
  • UPDATE Friday morning:  Logan Mott’s mother has posted a heartfelt message on Facebook, pleading for a safe return of her 15-year-old son and his grandmother, Kristina French.  UPDATE 11/23/17 5:40 PM: The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says there’s no new information to release. ORIGINAL STORY: A missing child alert has been issued for 15-year-old Logan Mott out of Neptune Beach.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Jacksonville Police believe Logan is in the company of his grandmother, 53-year-old Kristina French.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says firearms are missing from a home they are associated with. Our partners at Action News Jax spoke with Logan’s mother who says the home that had the firearms looked like it had been ransacked.  The two are believed to traveling in a 2015 silver Dodge Dart with Florida tag D-L-L-T-4-2.  JSO says with the firearms missing, you should not approach them if you see them. You are asked to call 911. This is a developing story, check back for more updates. 

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