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The death of James Brady takes a shocking twist: Homicide

Kristyn Burtt is an IAWTV award-winning host and entertainment reporter. She currently hosts the recap shows for "Dancing With the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance" on AfterBuzz TV and for "True Blood" on GeekNation.

John Hinckley Jr. could be charged with federal murder in death of James Brady

On Friday, the medical examiner for the Northern District of Virginia ruled that James Brady's death was a homicide. The former press secretary was seriously injured on March 30, 1981, during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

According to NBC4 Washington, the medical examiner has ruled that Brady died as a result of the injuries he suffered 33 years ago. Gunman John Hinckley Jr. could be charged with federal murder.

Former White House press secretary James Brady dies at 73 >>

NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams said in his TV report, "There is no statute of limitations on murder in either the federal or state system. We are a long way from knowing what the federal authorities are going to do with this, or whether they are going to do anything with it."

The wounds the White House worker suffered caused partial paralysis and slurred speech. In his post-Washington years, he was a huge proponent of gun control, including the historic legislation passed in 1993.

Brady passed away on Monday at the age of 73.

Hinckley is currently institutionalized at St. Elizabeth's, a psychiatric hospital outside of Washington, D.C. At the trial, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Besides wounding Reagan and Brady in the assassination attempt, Hinckley also injured police officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy outside of the Washington Hilton Hotel.

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Hinckley's family has been trying to secure him a permanent leave from the hospital, and he has been given numerous weeks-long visits to their home in Williamsburg, Virginia. This ruling may affect the family's ongoing case as prosecutors review the medical examiner's findings.

Brady's wife, Sarah, is taking the news in stride. A family spokeswoman told NBC, "This isn't a surprise to anybody or to her, given that his health was impacted and he suffered such consequences over the years. If that is the case, it is in the prosecutors' hands and it is up to them."

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