Alec Baldwin’s Deadly Film Rehearsal Will See the Start of the “Rust” Armorer’s Trial

The first trial in connection with actor Alec Baldwin’s deadly shooting of a cameraman during a Western film rehearsal was getting ready to start on Thursday.

The film’s weapons supervisor is being tried on counts of involuntary homicide and tampering with evidence in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on October 21, 2021, on a movie ranch south of Santa Fe, before Baldwin’s case moves forward.

Hutchins’ death was not directly caused by armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who entered a not guilty plea to the accusations. Lead defense attorney Jason Bowles has referenced workplace safety regulators’ conclusions in court documents that there were widespread issues that went beyond the armorer’s jurisdiction.

The prosecution will provide proof that Gutierrez-Reed inadvertently carried live ammunition into a movie set, against all explicit prohibitions. They claim that after failing to take precautions several times, the armorer finally put a live round in the rifle that killed Hutchins.

In another case, Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter; he entered a not guilty plea. An involuntary manslaughter allegation against Baldwin was first dropped by prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis in April, citing information that suggested the gun may have been altered before to the incident and malfunctioned.

Alec Baldwin Shooting

According to a more current examination of the weapon, the “evidence revolver’s fully cocked or retracted hammer had to be released by pulling or depressing the trigger sufficiently.”

Following a day-long selection process that included inquiries about their exposure to media coverage and discussions about the case on social media, jurors from the Santa Fe area were sworn in for Gutierrez-trial Reed’s on Wednesday. Initially, a panel of twelve jurors will have four alternates.

At the age of 24, Gutierrez-Reed was the stepdaughter of famous marksman and weapons consultant Thell Reed. Hutchins passed away at that time. If found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, she may get a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

She allegedly gave a tiny bag containing potentially illegal drugs to another crew member following the shooting in order to evade being discovered by police authorities, which led to the charge of tampering with evidence.

According to her lawyers, the accusation is an effort by the prosecution to damage Gutierrez-Reed’s reputation. Defense lawyers claimed that the bag’s contents were thrown out without being checked. With over 40 possible witnesses, the trial is set to last until March 6.

Baldwin, the primary actor and co-producer of “Rust,” is not listed as a pretrial witness and, should he be called upon, may claim immunity from self-incrimination. The date of his trial is unknown. Baldwin claims that the gun fired because he pulled back the hammer rather than the trigger. A grand jury in January brought charges against him.

Her lawyers claim that Gutierrez-Reed has been unfairly singled out for blame. They claim that dummy rounds from an Albuquerque-based source delivered live rounds to the set. Furthermore, Gutierrez-Reed is charged in a another instance with breaking state law by bringing a gun into a downtown Santa Fe bar.

According to her counsel, the allegation was made in an attempt to coerce Gutierrez-Reed into making up a confession regarding the handling of live weapons on the “Rust” set. State workplace safety officials claim that Gutierrez-Reed was in charge of teaching cast members who would be handling firearms as well as storing, maintaining, and handling firearms and ammunition on set.

Live rounds can usually be identified from dummy rounds by shaking the round to hear the sound of a BB being inserted inside, or by looking for a tiny hole in the dummy’s brass cartridge, which indicates there is no explosive within.

Another characteristic of fake rounds is a dimpled or missing primer at the bottom of the cartridge. Following a damning account of safety lapses above accepted industry standards, Rust Movie Productions was fined $100,000 by the state.

The California Examiner is the best resource for current information about California.

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