The ‘Rust’ movie star who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter will be sentenced today

The ‘Rust’ movie star who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter will be sentenced today

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the “Rust” star who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month for the 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday morning in a New Mexico courtroom.

Hutchins was killed by a live bullet fired from a prop gun held by actor Alec Baldwin on October 21, 2021. The film’s director was also injured in the shooting.

Gutierrez Reed, who was responsible for security and gun storage on the set, became the first person to be tried and convicted in the case, which has drawn national attention for more than two years. He now faces up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Prosecutors had asked that he be sentenced to the maximum prison term, citing his “complete and utter failure to accept responsibility for his actions,” while the defense asked that he be released on probation, arguing that he had no prior criminal history and had “a record of prior good conduct and positive things.”

The jury returned a guilty verdict on March 6 after hearing from more than 30 witnesses and deliberating for nearly three hours, finding that the actions of Gutierrez Reed – who prosecutors argued repeatedly violated safety protocols and acted recklessly in the performance of his duties – ultimately led to Hutchins’ death. . The former armorer has been in custody since his conviction. His defense attorney Jason Bowles told CNN they plan to appeal.Bowles maintains his 26-year-old client has been made the scapegoat for security failures by film set management and other crew members.

In a sentencing memo dated April 10, Gutierrez Reed’s defense team asked that he be released on probation with conditions set by the judge and undergo counseling and rehabilitation efforts. He has faced “much harsher” consequences than other defendants, his lawyers said in the memo, because of the media coverage, which has led to death threats and may affect his life and future job prospects.

He felt “deeply saddened and heartbroken by what happened that tragic day on the set of Rust,” the memo said. Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey did not comment on the defense memo when contacted by CNN.

In an April 12 court filing responding to a defense memo, Morrissey and special prosecutor Jason Lewis asked that Gutierrez Reed be sentenced to 18 months in prison, arguing that he “continues to deny responsibility and blame others,” including designated medical officers and paramedics. save Hutchins. Prosecutors also cited a jailhouse call in which Gutierrez Reed allegedly complained “about the negative impact this incident has had on his life” and called jurors insulting names. CNN has reached out to his attorney for comment.

Gutierrez Reed was acquitted during the trial on a separate charge of tampering with evidence, which was brought after prosecutors alleged he transferred a “small bag of cocaine” to another person after a police interview after the shooting.

Baldwin, who has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter, is expected to go on trial in July. He pleaded not guilty and insisted he did not pull the trigger of the gun. A judge is considering a motion filed by Baldwin’s legal team to dismiss his indictment, citing allegations of impropriety by the government — a motion prosecutors vehemently blasted in their own rebuttal filing.

What happened in the trial
The fatal shooting happened during a break in the filming of the Western movie “Rust” at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe.

Baldwin had been rehearsing for the scene and was drawing and pointing the gun with guidance from Hutchins and Joel Souza, the film’s director, according to the 2023 probable cause statement.

Baldwin pulled out a revolver, pointed it at Hutchins and fired the weapon just before 2 p.m., hitting him in the chest and wounding Souza, prosecutors said in a probable cause statement. Hutchins was pronounced dead shortly after 3:30 p.m.

In the trial, prosecutors alleged that Gutierrez Reed repeatedly violated safety protocols and neglected his responsibilities leading up to the shooting, including failing to perform safety checks on prop guns and loaded ammunition, handing them to staff members who should not have handled the weapons on set and then departing from the set. the area when Baldwin finally fired the fatal round.

“This is not a case where Hannah Gutierrez made one mistake and that one mistake accidentally put a live round in the gun,” Morrissey said during closing arguments. “This case is about an ongoing and endless security failure that resulted in the death of one human being and the near-death of another.”

Morrissey said Gutierrez Reed’s repeated failure to allow six live rounds into the set and said he did not conduct security checks that would have caught them.

“He had six, six live rounds on the film set, the earliest I can track them down for you is October 10 (2021),” the prosecutor said. “Six, and he failed to expel them for 12 days. The point is that he didn’t rock any false rounds, he didn’t test anything.”

A “dummy” shot refers to a bullet that does not contain an explosive element but looks as if it is a real bullet when fired.

“If he doesn’t check the dummy rounds when filming is done to make sure that the rounds designed to look like live rounds are actually dummy rounds, it’s a game of Russian roulette every time an actor holds a gun with a dummy. ,” Morrissey added.

Bowles, the defense attorney, placed the blame elsewhere. He questioned how the live ammunition made it on set and claimed the production team created a chaotic and unsafe environment that put Gutierrez Reed in “a very difficult situation to compete in.” And, Baldwin did not follow common sense gun safety rules on set when he handled the gun and acted unpredictably when he pointed the gun at Hutchins, Bowles said in his closing statement.

“(Gutierrez Reed) couldn’t have anticipated what Baldwin was going to do. It was not in the script, it was unpredictable,” he said. “Management is responsible for the security failure and not Hannah.”

During the armory hearing, assistant film director David Halls admitted he was “negligent” in checking the gun and did not properly look at all the rounds in the gun chamber when Gutierrez Reed handed it to him.

“He cocked the revolver, I remember seeing three to four, what I believe to be fake bullets,” Halls testified. He later added: “I don’t remember him turning the cylinder completely.”

Dewan would continue to yell “cool gun” before handing the gun to Baldwin, a statement meant to indicate the gun had no live ammunition, according to court documents. Halls accepted a plea deal in 2023 for his role in the shooting, pleading no contest to one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

He was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation, fined $500, required to participate in a firearm safety class, complete 24 hours of community service and not use drugs or alcohol.

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