An infamous man in Texas Tech history is getting a spotlight shown on him 38 years after a national tragic event.
A podcast called Crimeficionados is doing a series over John Hinckley Jr., a former Tech student who tried to kill former President Ronal Reagan in Washington, D.C. in 1981.
One episode in the series is titled “Texas Tech,” which is focused on Hinckley’s connections to Tech and Lubbock.
This series is Travis Daughtrey and Lee Flores’ first podcast, which started with them having a similar passion.
“We just started talking about true crime in the bar. I’m a bartender in the bar downstairs below the studio that Lee works in,” Daughtrey said. Over a few months we started talking more and more about Hinckley, and Lee started talking about how she wanted to do a podcast for a long time, so it just came together really quickly.”
Hinckley’s past was a topic Flores said was an obvious option for the podcast, as she did her dissertation over him for her Ph.D. at Saybrook University in Oakland, California. She said she first became interested in Hinckley after the assassination attempt happened when she was 10.
Regarding the podcast series, which will have a total of 15 episodes, Flores said she and Daughtrey already released episodes one through nine. She said episode five is the episode about Hinckley’s life not just at Tech but in Lubbock as well.
Regarding some background about Hinckley, Flores said he would go to a burger place called Bob’s Lot of Burgers every day. Locals at the restaurant saw Hinckley and eventually became friends with him over the seven years at Tech, she said.
“He was just a few credits shy of graduating with a degree in liberal arts,” Flores said. “So, he was in Lubbock a lot. Just a lot of fun little tidbits about his life when he was there and the people he encountered. Like, he ate a lot of cheeseburgers. Local merchants and stuff would see him and call him and say ‘there goes old Hinky Dinky.’”
When Hinckley was a freshman, he had three roommates, Daughtrey said. Hinckley then went to live alone at Western Air Apartments and University Arms Apartments, which is still standing at 409 University Ave.
After the “Texas Tech” episode aired, Flores said she received a comment from a woman who took a German history class at Tech from a professor named Joseph King in the 1980s. She said the woman’s comment explained how the professor had Hinckley in a class, and the woman sat in the same seat Hinckley did years before.
Even after Hinckley left the South Plains, people were still reminiscing about him and telling stories, Flores said.
“It was still a thing, you know, even immediately after the fact (and) years later,” Flores said. “People are still swapping stories about their encounters with him (Hinckley) at Texas Tech and Lubbock.”
The other big topic Flores and Daughtrey are wanting to talk about in the series is mental health.
Hinckley suffered from narcissistic personality disorder, among other mental health issues, Daughtrey said. Mental health is a topic he said will recur throughout the Hinckley series and the next series the podcast will cover.
“One of the biggest aspects we are talking about overall is obviously mental health,” Daughtrey said. “I think that’s going to be true throughout the podcast regardless of the Hinckley series or if it’s the Fraud series; no matter what we’re talking about.”
There is a two part episode in Crimeficiandos about Saint Elizabeth’s, which is the mental health facility in Washington D.C. where Hinckley was until 2016, Flores said. The reason mental health is going to be a recurring topic in the series is because true crime and mental health go hand in hand, she said.
Crimeficionados is just about to release the tenth episode of their series, Daughtrey said. After the Hinckley series concludes, he said he and Flores will do a Fraud series and then a White Collar Crime series.