Rust film shooting: weapons supervisor pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter

Trial of Hannah Gutierrez Reed in the 2021 shooting death of Halyna Hutchins on set of Alec Baldwin film will start in December

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering charges in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Gutierrez Reed submitted the plea on Wednesday, having waived her right to an arraignment and preliminary hearing. New Mexico district court judge Mary Sommer has set the trial to run 6 to 15 December.

The weapons supervisor faces three years in prison if convicted on both counts.

Gutierrez Reed is the sole remaining defendant in the case after prosecutors in April dropped an involuntary manslaughter charge against the actor Alec Baldwin, who was pointing a gun at Hutchins during a rehearsal when it went off, killing her and injuring the film’s director Joel Souza in 2021.

Prosecutors allege Gutierrez Reed acted recklessly when she loaded the gun on the set and handed it to Baldwin; she allegedly did not properly check all of the rounds to make sure they were dummies.

The evidence tampering charge relates to Gutierrez Reed having allegedly passed drugs to someone else on the day of the shooting “with the intent to prevent the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of herself,” according to a court filing. Prosecutors allege that Gutierrez Reed was drinking and smoking marijuana in the evenings during the filming of Rust and was likely hungover when the incident occurred.

As part of Gutierrez Reed’s conditions of release, she may not possess firearms, consume alcohol, or return to the location of the alleged incident.

Sommer declined to dismiss the case last week, rejecting arguments from the defense that the prosecutor’s comments about Gutierrez Reed allegedly hiding drugs and being hungover could taint potential jurors in the case.

Prosecutors are still investigating whether the Colt .45 revolver Baldwin was holding was modified to fire without a pull of the trigger, and may still refile charges against him.

Baldwin still faces several civil lawsuits in relation to the case, including one brought by the film’s script supervisor, and one from Hutchins’s mother, father and sister. He previously settled a lawsuit with Hutchins’s husband and son.

Contributor

Sian Cain

The GuardianTramp

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