At first, Jeannette Wick, the chief pharmacist at St. Elizabeths Hospital, said she was not concerned when the hospital's most famous patient, John W. Hinckley Jr., started stopping by her office to chat about books.
Even though members of her staff were concerned, she wasn't -- until, she said, he began keeping tabs on her: He called frequently. He waited outside the building where she worked at the end of the day. When she went on lunchtime power walks with co-workers, he would watch her from afar. And he told her that he knew exactly how she spent her free time with her daughter.
Hinckley's demeanor became "more threatening," she said after September 1995, when she filed a report on his unauthorized delivery of a package to her. When he sees her now, she said, "He glares at me. . . . I guess the kids would say he stares me down."
Wick, a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service who has been assigned to St. Elizabeths for several years, denied Hinckley's contention that he gave her a back rub and played "footsie" with her under her desk. She said she never had physical contact with the 42-year-old patient, who has been confined at the hospital since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982 for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan the year before.
She was the first witness called by prosecutors Thomas E. Zeno and Robert R. Chapman in their part of a hearing before U.S. District Judge June L. Green on Hinckley's request for monthly 12-hour visits away from the hospital with his parents. Hinckley's parents and several mental health specialists called to testify on his behalf say his psychosis and depression are in remission.
The prosecutors oppose the request, saying Hinckley has fooled doctors before, lying about his mental health and whether he was "over" actress Jodie Foster, whom he had tried to impress with his attack on Reagan.
Last week, St. Elizabeths' eight-member administrative review board denied Hinckley's request, saying he had been deceptive about his relationship with Wick and about another matter.
Wick, a petite woman with short, light brown hair, has been described by some as resembling Foster. She testified that Hinckley -- as he did concerning Foster -- composed and recorded love songs for her. Wick said she listened to one tape and gave it back to him.
She said she thought she was handling Hinckley's fascination with her because she had sought advice from his therapist, Maureen Christian. At Christian's behest, Wick told Hinckley that he had to call before visiting her office.
Although Wick said Hinckley continued showing up without an appointment, she didn't get angry with him until he followed her after a fire alarm had sounded in her building. Wick said she had specific duties to fulfill because of the alarm. "When I started out of the building, I realized John was outside looking for me. I was very angry, and I told him he was making a nuisance of himself."