A Drifter Who Stalked Success

"Something happened to that boy in the last six years"

It cannot be said fairly that John Warnock Hinckley Jr., 25, was destined for infamy.

He is accused of a shooting that, perhaps even to him, is a surprise; the first openly extraordinary act of his life. This son of Sunbelt affluence —blond, blue-eyed, with the fleshy good looks of a country club lay-about—had never been outwardly quirky or unpleasant. His unremarkability confounds the desire for tidy, comforting explanations.

Says a family friend: "There but for the grace of God goes anyone's kid." Beverly McBeath...

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