‘Rust’ armorer found guilty of involuntary manslaughter after loading live bullet into Alec Baldwin’s gun on movie set

News & Politics

The armorer for the movie “Rust,” who was deemed responsible for the bullet that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

A jury decided that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was indeed guilty when she loaded a live bullet into Alec Baldwin‘s Colt .45 pistol on the set of the movie. The gun was meant to contain only dummy rounds.

Baldwin fired the pistol while rehearsing, killing Hutchins.

Gutierrez-Reed faces a sentence of up to 18 months in prison, but her sentencing is not expected until April 2024, Variety reported. She was acquitted of a different charge of tampering with evidence, however.

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Defense attorney Jason Bowles had argued that Gutierrez-Reed has been smeared and scapegoated, the New York Post reported. He attempted to convince the jury that management was to blame for failing to give Gutierrez-Reed adequate time to do her job, which included checking the dummy rounds for safety.

During the trial, jurors were shown a police interview with Gutierrez-Reed from November 2021 during which she said she used dummies on “Rust” that were actually left over from a previous movie, “The Old Way,” which Gutierrez-Reed had worked on a few weeks earlier.

“I went back through a bag that I had,” the armorer said in the interview. “This bag had a bunch of loose dummies in it. I went through and I checked all of them, and I put them into two boxes. … They were in my car for like two weeks,” she added.

Later in the interview, Gutierrez-Reed said that she typically shakes each dummy round to see if it rattles, which is reportedly a safety feature that lets users know the rounds can’t be fired.

“I am shaking all of them most of the time,” Gutierrez Reed said, words that were highlighted by the prosecution.

Producers testified against the armorer, saying she never requested additional time and disregarded a logging system to make sure the weapons were being attended to properly, TMZ stated.

Prosecutor Kari Morrissey argued in her closing statement that Gutierrez-Reed’s actions showed an “astonishing” failure to adhere to safety protocols and that she never properly tested the rounds.

“The evidence wasn’t sufficient to convict,” defense attorney Bowles said after the trial. “It was a lot of guesswork, a lot of speculation,” he added. The lawyer said he would appeal the verdict.

Gutierrez-Reed got the job in large part due to her father, Thell Reed, according to Variety. Thell Reed is a legendary film armorer who has worked on movies like “3:10 to Yuma.”

While he was not called to testify, he was mentioned by ammunition supplier Seth Kenney, who was accused by the defense of supplying the ammunition for the movie.

Kenney reportedly asserted that Gutierrez-Reed and her father were trying to claim that “the live ammunition on the set of Rust … somehow came through” him, Deadline reported.

“Knowing Thell and having been friends with him for a few years at that point, I know how much he loves his daughter,” Kenney said of the 81-year-old.

Alec Baldwin will face a manslaughter trial in July 2024.

He has maintained that he did not pull the trigger, with his defense questioning whether the gun was functioning properly at the time of the shooting.

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