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'Rust' armourer gets 18 months in prison for fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin on set

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed looks on during her sentencing hearing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Eddie Moore / The Alburquerque Journal via AP Pool) Hannah Gutierrez-Reed looks on during her sentencing hearing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Eddie Moore / The Alburquerque Journal via AP Pool)
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SANTA FE, N.M. -

A movie weapons supervisor was sentenced to 18 months in prison in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin on the set of the Western film "Rust," during a hearing Monday in which tearful family members and friends gave testimonials that included calls for justice and a punishment that would instill greater accountability for safety on film sets.

Movie armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was convicted in March by a jury on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and has been held for more than a month at a county jail on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Prosecutors blamed Gutierrez-Reed for unwittingly bringing live ammunition onto the set of "Rust" where it was expressly prohibited and for failing to follow basic gun safety protocols.

Gutierrez-Reed was unsuccessful in her plea for a lesser sentencing, telling the judge she was not the monster that people have made her out to be and that she had tried to do her best on the set despite not having "proper time, resources and staffing."

Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer for "Rust," was pointing a gun at Hutchins during a rehearsal on a movie set outside Santa Fe in October 2021 when the revolver went off, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter. He is scheduled for trial in July at a courthouse in Santa Fe.

The sentence against Gutierrez-Reed was delivered by New Mexico Judge Mary Marlowe Summer, who is overseeing proceedings against Baldwin. The judge said anything less than the maximum sentence would not be appropriate given that Gutierrez-Reed's recklessness amounted to a serious violent offense.

"You were the armourer, the one that stood between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone," the judge told Gutierrez-Reed. "You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you, Ms. Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother."

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed looks on during her sentencing hearing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Eddie Moore / The Alburquerque Journal via AP Pool)

Gutierrez-Reed teared up as Hutchins' agent, Craig Mizrahi, spoke about the cinematographer's creativity and described her as a rising star in Hollywood. He said it was a chain of events that led to Hutchins' death and that had the armourer been doing her job, that chain would have been broken.

Friends and family recalled Hutchins as courageous, tenacious and compassionate -- a "bright beam of light" who could have gone on to accomplish great things within the film industry.

"I really feel that this was due to negligence," Steven Metz testified. "This case needs to set a precedent for all the other actors, and cinematographers and every one on set whose lives are at risk when we have negligence at the hands of an armourer, a supposed armourer."

Los Angeles-based attorney Gloria Allred read a statement by Hutchins' mother, Olga Solovey, who said her life had been split in two and that time didn't heal, rather it only prolonged her pain and suffering. A video of a tearful Solovey, who lives in Ukraine, also was played for the court.

"It's the hardest thing to lose a child. There's no words to describe," Solovey said in her native language.

The Ukrainian relatives of Hutchins are seeking damages in her death from Baldwin in connection with the shooting. Allred said after Monday's hearing that the family supports his criminal prosecution.

Defence attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed requested leniency in sentencing -- including a possible conditional discharge that would avoid further jail time and leave an adjudication of guilt off her record if certain conditions are met.

Gutierrez-Reed was acquitted at trial of allegations she tampered with evidence in the "Rust" investigation. She also has pleaded not guilty to a separate felony charge that she allegedly carried a gun into a bar in Santa Fe where firearms are prohibited.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the former armourer at the movie 'Rust,' listens to closing arguments in her trial at district court, Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in Santa Fe, N.M. (Luis Sánchez Saturno/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

Defence attorneys have highlighted Gutierrez-Reed’s relatively young age of 26 “and the devastating effect a felony will have on her life going forward,” arguing that she will forever be affected negatively by intense publicity associated with her prosecution in parallel with an A-list actor.

Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey urged the judge to impose the maximum prison sentence and designate Gutierrez-Reed as a "serious violent offender" to limit her eligibility for a sentence reduction later, describing the defendant's behavior on the set of "Rust" as exceptionally reckless.

Morrissey told the judge Monday that she reviewed nearly 200 phone calls that Gutierrez-Reed had made from jail over the last month. She said she was hoping there would be a moment when the defendant would take responsibility for what happened or express genuine remorse.

"That moment has never come," Morrissey said. "Ms. Gutierrez continues to refuse to accept responsibility for her role in the death of Halyna Hutchins."

The judge indicated that summary transcripts of Gutierrez-Reed's telephone conversations from jail weighed in the sentencing.

“Hannah says that people have accidents and people die, it’s an unfortunate part of life but it doesn’t mean she should be in jail,” Marlowe Sommer said. “The word ‘remorse’ — a deep regret coming from a sense of guilt for past wrongs — that’s not you.”

Defence attorneys argued Monday that Gutierrez-Reed was remorseful and had breakdowns over Hutchins' death. They also pointed to systemic problems that led to the shooting.

"Rust" assistant director and safety coordinator Dave Halls last year pleaded no contest to negligent handling of a firearm and completed a sentence of six months unsupervised probation. "Rust" props master Sarah Zachry, who shared some responsibilities over firearms on the set of "Rust," signed an agreement with prosecutors to avoid prosecution in return with her cooperation.

The pending firearms charge against Gutierrez-Reed stems from an incident at a bar in downtown Santa Fe, days before she was hired to work as the armourer on "Rust." Prosecutors says investigations into the fatal shooting led to discovery of a selfie video in which Gutierrez-Reed filmed herself carrying a firearm into the bar, while defence attorneys allege vindictive prosecution.

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