Vincent J. Fuller, the star Washington attorney who successfully defended would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley, has died in a suburban Maryland hospice. He was 75. 2

Vincent J. Fuller, the star Washington attorney who successfully defended would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley, has died in a suburban Maryland hospice. He was 75.

Fuller, who lived in Bethesda, Md., died Wednesday of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Vincent Fuller, the chief defense counsel for accused presidential assailant John W. Hinckley Jr., speaks with reporters outside federal court in Washington on May 19, 1982. The star Washington attorney who successfully defended Hinckley, has died in a suburban Maryland hospice. He was 75. Fuller, who lived in Bethesda, Md., died Wednesday, July 26, 2006 of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

During his career Fuller defended a number of notables, including boxer Mike Tyson and Teamster union boss Jimmy Hoffa.

But he was best known for his successful insanity defense of Hinckley, who shot President Reagan, press secretary James Brady and two law enforcers, outside a Washington hotel on March 30, 1981.

Fuller, retained within hours of the shooting, centered his defense on Hinckley’s mental state, maintaining the shooter was delusional and obsessed with the actress Jodie Foster.

In his closing argument, Fuller told the jury, “In his own mind, the defendant had two compelling reasons to do what he did: to terminate his own existence and to accomplish his ideal union with Jodie Foster, whether in this world or the next. I submit these are the acts of a totally irrational individual …”

The argument is featured in a set of famous legal cases, “Classics of the Courtroom.”

Fuller was born in Ossining, N.Y. After graduating from Williams College in Massachusetts he served two years in the Navy. He later attended Georgetown Law School.

Scroll to Top