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Gun supervisor for 'Rust' movie to be sentenced for fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin on set

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Gun supervisor for 'Rust' movie to be sentenced for fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin on set
April 15, 2024
MORGAN LEE - AP

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A movie weapons supervisor is facing up to 18 months in prison for the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin on the set of the Western film “Rust,” with her sentencing scheduled for Monday in a New Mexico state court.

Movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was convicted in March by a jury on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and has been held for more than a month at a county jail on the outskirts of Santa Fe.

Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer for “Rust,” was pointing a gun at Hutchins when the revolver went off, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge and says he pulled back the gun's hammer, but not the trigger, before the gun went off. His trial is scheduled for July before the same judge, Mary Marlowe Sommer, who oversaw the trail of Gutierrez-Reed.

Gutierrez-Reed could also receive a $5,000 fine.

Prosecutors blamed Gutierrez-Reed for unwittingly bringing live ammunition onto the set of “Rust” where it was expressly prohibited and for failing to follow basic gun safety protocols. After a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for about three hours in reaching its verdict.

Defense attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed requested leniency in sentencing — including a possible conditional discharge that would avoid further jail time and leave an adjudication of guilt off her record if certain conditions are met.

Gutierrez-Reed was acquitted at trial of allegations she tampered with evidence in the “Rust” investigation. She also has pleaded not guilty to a separate felony charge that she allegedly carried a gun into a bar in Santa Fe where firearms are prohibited.

Defense attorneys have highlighted Gutierrez-Reed's relatively young age “and the devastating effect a felony will have on her life going forward.”

They say the 26-year-old will forever be affected negatively by intense publicity associated with her prosecution in parallel with an A-list actor, and has suffered from anxiety, fear and depression as a result.

Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey urged the judge to impose the maximum prison sentence and designate Gutierrez-Reed as a “serious violent offender" to limit her eligibility for a sentence reduction later, describing the defendant's behavior on the set of “Rust” as exceptionally reckless. She said Gutierrez-Reed has shown a lack of remorse, citing comments by Gutierrez-Reed in phone calls from jail that are monitored by authorities.

“Rust” assistant director and safety coordinator Dave Halls last year pleaded no contest to negligent handling of a firearm and completed a sentence of six months unsupervised probation. “Rust” props master Sarah Zachry, who shared some responsibilities over firearms on the set of “Rust,” signed an agreement with prosecutors to avoid prosecution in return with her cooperation.

Written testimonials in favor of leniency included letters from Gutierrez-Reed's childhood friend and romantic partner Sean Kridelbaugh, who said Gutierrez-Reed cries constantly out of remorse in the shooting and that further incarceration would interfere with efforts to care for a relative with cancer. Other friends and former colleagues urged the judge to emphasize rehabilitation over punishment in the sentencing.

The pending firearms charge against Gutierrez-Reed stems from an incident at a bar in downtown Santa Fe, days before she was hired to work as the armorer on “Rust.” Prosecutors says investigations into the fatal shooting led to discovery of a selfie video in which Gutierrez-Reed filmed herself carrying a firearm into the bar, while defense attorneys allege vindictive prosecution.

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