‘Rust’ film armorer found guilty of involuntary manslaughter

SANTA FE, N.M. — A New Mexico jury on Wednesday convicted Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the “Rust” movie set when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally struck by a live round of ammunition fired from a prop gun held by actor Alec Baldwin two years ago.

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Gutierrez-Reed, 26, was found guilty in the death of Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021, on the film set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe, Variety reported. The jury in Santa Fe deliberated for 2 1/2 hours.

Gutierrez-Reed was acquitted of an additional charge of tampering with evidence. She faces up to 18 months in prison for her role in the death of Hutchins, the Los Angeles Times reported. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ordered her taken into custody awaiting her sentencing, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Baldwin, 65, the lead actor and a co-producer on “Rust,” was indicted by a grand jury in January on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, according to The Associated Press. The actor was pointing a gun at Hutchins on a movie set outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, when the gun discharged, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin’s trial is set for July, Variety reported.

Gutierrez-Reed had acknowledged loading Baldwin’s gun with what she believed were inert “dummy” rounds, according to the Times. Baldwin has described how he was practicing for an upcoming scene by pointing the prop pistol -- a Colt .45 revolver -- at Hutchins, the newspaper reported.

Baldwin has maintained that he was unaware that an actual bullet was one of the six rounds loaded into the weapon.

Gutierrez-Reed is the first person to stand trial in the case involving the ill-fated film, CNN reported. The case highlighted the movie industry’s safety standards, and how they were violated in “Rust.”

To convict on the involuntary manslaughter charge, jurors had to agree that Gutierrez Reed acted with “willful disregard for the safety of others” and that the cinematographer’s death was a “foreseeable” consequence of her actions, Variety reported.

Earlier Wednesday, special prosecutors and attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed finished presenting their cases, according to the Times.

“Hannah Gutierrez loaded live ammunition into a firearm,” special prosecutor Kari T. Morrissey told the jury. “The astonishing lack of diligence with regard to gun safety is, without question, a significant cause of the death of Halyna Hutchins.”

Jason Bowles, the defendant’s attorney, argued during the trial that the blame does not lie with Gutierrez-Reed and that she was being used as a scapegoat, CNN reported.

“(Gutierrez Reed) could not anticipate what Baldwin would do. It was not in the script, it was not foreseeable,” Bowles said. “Management was responsible for safety failures and not Hannah.”

Outside the courtroom, one juror, Alberto Sanchez, said that the 12-person panel had reached its decision easily, The New York Times reported. He said evidence pointed to Gutierrez-Reed’s failure to properly follow through with gun safety checks.

“That was her job to check those rounds and those firearms,” Sanchez told reporters.

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