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‘Rust’ Armorer Found Guilty of Manslaughter Three Years After Deadly Shooting

Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican-Pool/Getty Images
Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican-Pool/Getty Images

After just two-and-a-half hours of deliberations, a New Mexico jury found Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed guilty of involuntary manslaughter over a fatal on-set shooting that killed the movie’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.

Gutierrez-Reed appeared stunned by the decision, with her lawyer, Jason Bowles, at her side. Another attorney, Monnica Barreras, patted her back as the courtroom bailiffs led her out of the room.

She faces up to three years in prison when she is sentenced.

After the verdict, attorneys Gloria Allred and John Carpenter, who are representing Hutchins’ parents–Olga Solovey and Anatolli Androsovych–and Halyna’s sister, Svetlana Zemko, said “the family have always wanted everyone who is responsible for Halyna’s death to be held accountable.”

They added, with a nod to Alec Baldwin without referencing his name directly: “Today was the first trial and conviction in the criminal justice process. We are satisfied that the jury, based on the evidence, found Hannah Gutierrez-Reed guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for her part in the taking of Halyna’s life. We look forward to the justice system continuing to make sure that everyone else who is responsible for Halyna’s death is required to face the legal consequences for their actions.”

‘Rust’ Armorer’s Lawyer Opens Trial by Laying Blame on Alec Baldwin

The jurors, made up of seven women and five men, delivered their verdict after a two-week trial that sought to determine Gutierrez-Reed’s culpability in the 2021 tragedy. Hutchins, 42, was shot dead by Baldwin, the film’s star, when he fired a prop gun that was supposed to discharge blanks but somehow ended up with a live round in the chamber. Director Joel Souza was wounded in the incident but survived.

Gutierrez-Reed, who was 24 at the time of the shooting, was responsible for firearms safety during production of the Western, on which Baldwin also served as a producer. From the beginning, she denied any wrongdoing. Gutierrez-Reed was acquitted of evidence tampering for allegedly handing off a “small bag” of cocaine to an associate so as to avoid additional scrutiny by police investigating the shooting.

During closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutor Kari Morrissey said Gutierrez-Reed accidentally brought live rounds onto the set because she was careless, describing “constant, never-ending safety failures” that ended in disaster.

“This was a game of Russian roulette every time an actor had a gun,” Morrissey told the jury.

She said the case was in “pursuit of justice for Halyna Hutchins.”

“Hannah Gutierrez failed to maintain firearms safety, making a fatal accident willful and foreseeable,” Morrissey argued.

She emphasized that she wasn’t accusing Gutierrez-Reed of intentionally bringing live rounds on set. Rather, Morrissey said, Gutierrez-Reed was “negligent,” “careless,” and “thoughtless.”

To the contrary, defense attorney Jason Bowles said during his closing arguments, “Justice for Halyna does not mean injustice for Hannah.”

Alec Baldwin—Yet Again—Faces Charges in ‘Rust’ Shooting

Gutierrez-Reed was made into a “convenient scapegoat” by the production’s higher-ups, including Baldwin, Bowles said. “They want to lay the complete blame on her.”

Bowles said that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gutierrez-Reed was solely responsible for bringing the live rounds on set. He pointed the finger at Baldwin as the one to blame, not his client.

“I submit to you what caused her death is Mr. Baldwin going off script,” Bowles said. “No one ever knew there would be a live round on set. The only act is the pointing of the weapon. Ms Gutierrez didn’t point that weapon.”

Baldwin is charged with a single count of involuntary manslaughter over his alleged role in Hutchins’ death. His trial is scheduled to begin in July.

Assistant Director David Halls pleaded no contest last year to one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon. He admitted he did not check the gun thoroughly enough after Gutierrez-Reed handed it to him, and before he gave it to Baldwin for the doomed scene. Halls was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation, was required to take a firearms safety course, to perform 24 hours of community service, and pay a $500 fine.

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