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Tragic on-set Shooting Leaves ‘Rust’ Armorer Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter!

Involuntary Manslaughter in on-set Shooting

The involuntary manslaughter case which concerned the tragic on-set gunshot of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins—including Hannah Gutierrez, the armorer from “Rust”—had a guilty verdict handed down on Wednesday. The jury reached a verdict after little under three hours of deliberate time.

The jury found her not guilty of tampering with the evidence. Hutchins was shot and killed by actor Alec Baldwin on Wednesday, and the prosecution’s closing statements on Wednesday focused on how 26-year-old Gutierrez “repeatedly” failed to maintain appropriate weapon safety.

The 26-year-old was characterized by the defense as a “convenient scapegoat” in their response. The judge remanded Gutierrez into detention shortly after the verdict was delivered. If found guilty, she faces a possible 18-month jail term. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

Jason Bowles, their lawyer, has already announced that they will be appealing the decision. On Wednesday, Bowles spoke to reporters outside the courthouse to convey his dismay at the decision. “My sense was the evidence wasn’t sufficient to convict and it was a lot of guesswork, a lot of speculation.”

Gloria Allred, Hutchins’s attorney, released a statement on Wednesday night in which the family requested that those responsible for Hutchins’s death be held to account. From the perspective of the criminal justice system, it was the first day of trial and conviction.

Part of the jury’s decision that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was guilty of Halyna’s murder beyond a reasonable doubt was included in the statement. The statement expressed satisfaction with this outcome.

We look forward to the justice system continuing to make sure that everyone else who is responsible for Halyna’s death is required to face the legal consequences for their actions,” according to the statement.

During the two-week trial in Santa Fe, New Mexico, prosecutors claimed that Gutierrez brought six live rounds onto the set and failed to follow industry safety protocols, which led to their discovery twelve days before the fatal shot.

Director Joel Souza and actor Hutchins were hit by a live round from Baldwin’s Colt.45 revolver when he was practicing a cross-draw in a church on the set of the Western film on October 21, 2021. Director Souza received a non-life-threatening injury.

“This is not a case where Hannah Gutierrez made one mistake, and that one mistake was accidental—putting a live round into that gun,” instructed prosecutor Kari Morrissey as she addressed the jury in her final statement. “This case is about constant, neverending, safety failures that resulted in the death of a human being and nearly killed another.”

Morrissey said the jury that Gutierrez was irresponsible in ensuring the safety of the set’s weaponry, “making a fatal accident willful and foreseeable.” She presented the jury with still images from the scene showing performers threatening other crew members, including a small actor, and even Gutierrez threatening her own face with a gun.

Additionally, she displayed images from as early as October 10, 2021, showing what were later identified as live bullets in holsters and containers on set. Morrissey contended that this showed Gutierrez wasn’t shaking dummy ammunition to make sure they weren’t real, and that it was a form of “Russian roulette” whenever an actor’s gun was loaded with dummy rounds.

Mountains of circumstantial evidence” suggests that Gutierrez carried the live rounds into the scene, she added. “I’m not telling you Hannah Gutierrez intended to bring live rounds on set,” stated Morrissey. “I’m saying she was negligent, she was careless, she was thoughtless.”

According to Morrissey, Hutchins succumbed to a fatal lung injury and blood loss. “The astonishing lack of diligence with regard to gun safety is without question a significant cause of the death of Halyna Hutchins,” according to her. As part of his closing argument, Bowles claimed that the police did not investigate the shooting thoroughly and acted hastily.

The individual in question was designated as a “convenient fall person,” according to Sanchez. Furthermore, he insisted that she “did not do something willful” as she was unaware the handgun contained a full magazine.

Morrissey retorted by saying she understood Gutierrez’s ignorance of the live round on set and that second-degree murder, not involuntary manslaughter, would have been the appropriate prosecution had she been aware.

The defense theory that Seth Kenney, proprietor of PDQ Arm & Prop and weapons supplier for “Rust,” was the source of the live rounds was addressed by Morrissey during the trial. Morrissey stated that the live rounds recovered in Kenney’s store did not match the ones found on set.

Any argument that Seth Kenney is the source of the live rounds is absolutely dishonest,” according to her. In his closing statement, Bowles brought up the fact that a props manager tossed out unrecovered practice rounds after the incident and that Kenney’s firm wasn’t searched until one month later.

“If you don’t have all the evidence you can’t rule out all that reasonable doubt,” he commented. The New Mexico Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s investigation into the shooting was presented by Morrissey during the trial.

The report concluded that the management “demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety,” but Morrissey argued that the agency should be held accountable for the acts of employers rather than employees. On Wednesday, Bowles said that the report’s findings established that management was accountable for the set’s safety.

In connection with Hutchins’s death, both Gutierrez and Baldwin face charges of involuntary manslaughter. In July, his trial is expected to begin. In her closing argument, Morrissey brought to Baldwin’s involvement in the shooting.

Alec Baldwin’s conduct and his lack of gun safety inside that church on that day is something that he’s going to have to answer for,” the jurors were told. “Not with you and not today.

On set, Bowles also took note of Baldwin’s behavior. As part of his closing argument, Bowles showed the jury a scene from the making of “Rust” in which Baldwin fired a revolver immediately after the word “cut” was said, claiming that the actor “went off script.”

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