Hannah Gutierrez-Reed: Rust armourer sentenced to 18 months for Halyna Hutchins’ death

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the movie set weapons handler who loaded a gun for actor Alec Baldwin before it fired and killed a cinematographer has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The armourer, 26, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in March.

She was found not guilty of a second charge – tampering with evidence – over the 2021 shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust.

The sentence Gutierrez-Reed received is the maximum possible.

Mr Baldwin, 65, also faces a manslaughter trial in July. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer, who handed down the sentence on Monday in a New Mexico court, said Gutierrez-Reed’s actions constitute a serious, violent offense, committed in a physically violent manner.

“You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon,” Judge Sommer said, addressing the armourer. “But for you, Ms Hutchins would be alive. A husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

Ms Hutchins, 42, was killed after a gun Mr Baldwin used in a rehearsal fired a live round on the set of the Western in New Mexico.

Prosecutors said Gutierrez-Reed had failed to ensure the weapon was only loaded with dummy rounds – fake bullets used to look and sound like real ones.

“This case is about constant, never-ending safety failures that resulted in the death of a human being,” prosecutor Kari T Morrissey said during closing arguments in the trial.

Gutierrez-Reed was “negligent”, “careless” and “thoughtless” when she failed to notice that live bullets had mixed with dummy rounds in a box of ammunition on set, Ms Morrissey told the jurors.

One of those bullets was in the firearm that was used by Mr Baldwin, prosecutors said.

Jurors deliberated for three hours before returning their verdict in March. Ms Hutchins’ parents and her sister said they were “satisfied” with the verdict.

Their statement added: “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.”

Getty Images Halyna Hutchins in 2019Halyna Hutchins was killed while on set in 2021

Before she was sentenced, Gutierrez Reed addressed the court, saying that her heart aches for the Hutchins family and friends.

“The jury found me guilty; that does not make me a monster. That makes me human,” she said through tears.

But Judge Sommer said she felt the armourer did not take responsibility for her actions. “I did not hear you take accountability,” the judge said.

Ms Hutchins’ mother and sister also spoke in recorded videos from their native Kyiv, Ukraine. The mother, Olga Solovey, said in a translated video that no one involved in her daughter’s death ever reached out to express sympathy.

“It’s very important to me that there is justice,” she said.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Gutierrez-Reed had brought a box of live bullets to the New Mexico film set from her California home. They said these live rounds slowly spread throughout the set over the course of 12 days.

Ms Morrissey said she believed the armourer did not intend to bring live rounds to the set, but rather that Ms Hutchins’ death was a case of tragic negligence.

The prosecutor added that Gutierrez-Reed was more “worried about her career” and less about the victims in the aftermath of the shooting.

Gutierrez-Reed did not testify in the two-week trial, but her lawyer said in closing arguments that prosecutors had failed to prove his client was the sole person responsible for the fatal shooting.

“The [ammunition] boxes don’t matter, because we don’t know what was in them three or four days before,” her lawyer, Jason Bowles told the jury, arguing his client did not know that there were real bullets on set.

Mr Bowles also blamed Mr Baldwin, arguing that he had “gone off-script” when he pointed the gun at film crew. “It was not in the script for Mr Baldwin to point the weapon,” he said. “She didn’t know that Mr Baldwin was going to do what he did.”

Bowles had vowed to appeal the guilty verdict.

Gutierrez-Reed was found not guilty of evidence tampering stemming from accusations that she attempted to dispose of a small bag of narcotics after the shooting.

Last year, the movie’s cast and crew finished filming in tribute to Ms Hutchins, with her husband serving as an executive producer.

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