'Rust' armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed found guilty over fatal on set shooting

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed found guilty over fatal shooting
Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed found guilty over fatal shooting Copyright Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexico via AP
By Euronews with AP
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'Rust' weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin on the movie set.

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A jury has convicted a movie weapons supervisor of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal on the set of the Western movie Rust.

The verdict against movie armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed assigned new blame in the fatal October 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after an assistant director last year pleaded no contest to negligent handling of a firearm.

Gutierrez-Reed also had faced a second charge of tampering with evidence, stemming from accusations that she handed a small bag of possible narcotics to another crew member after the shooting to avoid detection. She was found not guilty on that count.

Prosecutors said at trial that Gutierrez-Reed unknowingly brought live ammunition onto the movie set, and it remained there for at least 12 days before the fatal shooting, giving the armourer plenty of time to remove it.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
Hannah Gutierrez-ReedLuis Sanchez Saturno/Santa Fe New Mexico via AP

In closing arguments, prosecutor Kari Morrissey described “constant, never-ending safety failures” on the set of “Rust” and Gutierrez-Reed's “astonishing lack of diligence” with gun safety.

“We end exactly where we began — in the pursuit of justice for Halyna Hutchins,” Morrissey told jurors. “Hannah Gutierrez failed to maintain firearms safety, making a fatal accident wilful and foreseeable.”

Prosecutors also contended that the armourer repeatedly skipped or skimped on standard gun-safety protocols that might have detected the live rounds.

“This was a game of Russian roulette every time an actor had a gun with dummies,” Morrissey said.

Immediately after the verdict was read in court, the judge ordered the 26-year-old armorer be placed into the custody of deputies. Lead attorney Jason Bowles said afterward that Gutierrez-Reed will appeal the conviction, which carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Santa Fe-based state district court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer did not immediately set a sentencing date.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed during her involuntary manslaughter trial
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed during her involuntary manslaughter trialJim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP

An attorney for Hutchins' parents and sister issued a statement expressing their satisfaction with Wednesday's verdict.

“Today was the first trial and conviction in the criminal justice process,” said the statement from Gloria Allred on behalf of parents Olga Solovey and Anatolli Androsovych and Hutchins’ sister, Svetlana Zemko. “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.”

Baldwin, the lead actor and a co-producer on Rust, was indicted by a grand jury in January on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. He was pointing a gun at Hutchins on a movie set outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, when the gun went off, killing the cinematographer and wounding director Joel Souza. 

The trial was a preamble to Baldwin's trial scheduled in July. He has pleaded not guilty.

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