US NewsTragedy on set of 'Rust' film ends in New Mexico court

Tragedy on set of 'Rust' film ends in New Mexico court

Tragedy on set of 'Rust' film ends in New Mexico court
Images source: © GETTY | Pool

6:48 AM EST, March 7, 2024

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, in charge of firearms on the set of the film "Rust," is guilty of manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a New Mexico jury ruled Wednesday. The woman faces a year and a half in prison and a five thousand dollar fine. The trial of actor Alec Baldwin, who fatally shot a female cameraman, will be held in July.

Tragedy on the film set

The nearly two-week criminal trial focused on an attempted shooting during the making of the film, during which actor Alec Baldwin, holding a prop gun loaded with - as it turned out - live ammunition, killed the cinematographer in charge, Halyna Hutchins. The bullet also wounded director Joel Souza.

"Gutierrez-Reed showed no emotion when the jury foreman read the verdicts. She removed her necklace before a correctional officer took her into custody. The judge ordered that she be placed in custody pending the verdict", NBC reported.

The jury acquitted Gutierrez-Reed, 26, of charges of tampering with evidence. Prosecutors claimed that after a police interrogation on the day of the tragedy, October 21, 2021, she handed a "small bag of cocaine" to someone to avoid detection of the drug.

During closing statements, prosecutor Kari T. Morrissey told the jury that the woman was "negligent, careless and thoughtless." As she added, after the fatal accident, she was more "concerned about her career" and less concerned about the victims.

Defence response

According to the defendant's defense attorney, Jason Bowles, prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt his client's responsibility for bringing live ammunition onto the set. He stated that Gutierrez-Reed is being used as a scapegoat.

During the trial, the prosecution presented footage from the set of "Rust" that may put the lead actor and also the film's producer, Alec Baldwin, in a controversial light. Among other things, they show the actor rushing Gutierez-Reed to reload his gun faster after the shot.

The lawyer questioned how the live ammunition got on set and alleged that the film's production team created a "chaotic and dangerous environment" in which Gutierrez-Reed found herself in "really difficult conditions." In his view, Baldwin failed to follow common-sense safety rules on set when holding a gun and acted unpredictably when aiming at Hutchins.

He asked the court to allow Gutierrez-Reed to remain at large pending sentencing, stressing that she had voluntarily appeared at every hearing. However, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer refused and ordered that she be remanded in custody.

Source: CNN, NBC News

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