Hefty sentence for armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed after death of Halyna Hutchins on set of Alec Baldwin film Rust

Hefty sentence for armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed after death of Halyna Hutchins on set of Alec Baldwin film Rust
  • PublishedApril 16, 2024

The woman in charge of weapons on the set of the Alec Baldwin movie Rust, where a cinematographer was shot dead, will spend 18 months in prison.

It’s the maximum sentence the court in New Mexico, USA, could hand down.

Last month, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 26, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter over the death of Halyna Hutchins in October 2021 during the filming of the Western movie.

The court heard how the ultimate responsibility for the firearms on set fell to her and she had repeatedly failed to adhere to basic safety rules, leaving guns unattended on set, and allowing actors — including Baldwin — to wave the weapons around.

It was Baldwin, 66, who mistakenly fired off a bullet while rehearsing killing Ms Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. The actor is awaiting trial on manslaughter charges.

At a sentencing hearing in Santa Fe on Monday (US time) Gutierrez-Reed, shackled and in khaki prison garb, could be seen with tears in her eyes as friends and colleagues of Ms Hutchins read statements about her death.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer indicated Gutierrez-Reed’s seeming lack of remorse was a factor in hanging down the hefty sentence, reported the US’ NBC News.

“Your lawyer had to tell the court you were remorseful,” she said.

New Mexico special prosecutor Kari T Morrissey told the judge she had reviewed Gutierrez-Reed’s phone calls from jail and she claimed they also showed a lack of remorse.

They “tell us who she really is,” said Ms Morrissey who added that she “chooses to place blame on the witnesses that testified against her, me, you”.

In some of the calls, Gutierrez-Reed called the jurors who convicted her as “idiots” and that she wanted Baldwin to also face jail time.

Instagram photo of Halyna Hutchins who was shot on the set of Rust.

Instagram photo of Halyna Hutchins who was shot on the set of Rust.

FAlec Baldwin pulled the trigger that killed Ms Hutchins. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic)

FAlec Baldwin pulled the trigger that killed Ms Hutchins. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic)

‘Time does not heal’

Mr Souza read a statement where he said the late Ms Hutchins had a “talent for life,” and, “in her fleeting time on this planet, we were better for it”.

“I want everyone damaged by Ms Reed’s failures that day to find peace”.

Ms Hutchins’ distraught mother Olga Solovey, who lives in Ukraine, recorded a video for the court.

She said she screamed when she learned of her daughter’s death.

“Time does not heal. It is two and a half years past and it gets worse and worse,” said Ms Solovey.

Gutierrez-Reed told the court that her “heart ached” for Ms Hutchins, her friends and family.

“I beg you please don’t give me more time,” she pleaded. Her lawyer had asked for her to be conditionally released after being behind bars for around five weeks since her March conviction.

But Judge Sommer was not moved.

“You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you, a husband would have his wife and a little boy would have his mother.”

Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed seen in mugshot after involuntary manslaughter conviction. Picture: Supplied

Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed seen in mugshot after involuntary manslaughter conviction. Picture: Supplied

Ms Hutchins was hit by a live round fired from the Colt .45 gun that Baldwin was holding for a scene inside a church on the New Mexico set. Mr Souza was wounded by the same bullet.

The cinematographer, who was 42 at the time of her death and the mother of a young child, was standing near the camera that would be used to film the scene.

Ms Hutchins was flown to a hospital but declared dead that day, having suffered massive bleeding.

Baldwin has repeatedly denied responsibility, insisting he did not pull the trigger.

Ballistics experts have dismissed the claim that Baldwin did not pull the trigger, saying the gun could not have discharged any other way.

His own involuntary manslaughter trial is expected in July.

The 10-day trial heard the armourer Gutierrez-Reed had been ultimately responsible for the use of live rounds on set — a red line across the industry.

“This is not a case where Hannah Gutierrez made one mistake and that one mistake was accidentally putting a live round into that gun,” Ms Morrissey told the jury in her closing arguments during the trial

“This case is about constant, never-ending safety failures that resulted in the death of a human being and nearly killed another.”

The set of Rust in New Mexico. Picture: KOB4

The set of Rust in New Mexico. Picture: KOB4

‘Russian roulette’

Ms Morrissey said on the day Hutchins was shot Gutierrez-Reed was characteristically haphazard with her supervision of the more than 20 guns the production was using, and was not present as Baldwin and the crew prepared the scene.

“She left the gun in the church contrary to all the industry standards for armourers on movie sets,” Ms Morrissey said.

“As you heard from many witnesses, she would leave guns unattended all the time. There was nothing unusual about October 21,” the day of the fatal shooting.

The jury found Gutierrez-Reed not guilty of a separate charge of evidence tampering, relating to the alleged disposal of cocaine in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

Dave Halls, the film’s safety co-ordinator and assistant director who handed Baldwin the loaded gun, agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors last year and was sentenced to six months’ probation.

Filming of Rust was halted by the tragedy, but completed last year on location in Montana.

The cinematographer’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, who has already settled a wrongful-death suit with Rust producers, served as an executive producer.

No release date has been set for the movie

The tragedy sent shockwaves through Hollywood and led to calls for a complete ban on the use of weapons on movie sets.

Industry insiders, however, insisted that rules were already in place to prevent such incidents, and that those working on Rust had not followed them.

SOURCE: NEWS.COM

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