Judge Refuses to Dismiss Charges on Sole Remaining Defendant in ‘Rust’ Shooting

A New Mexico judge has told lawyers to ‘stay the course’ on charges including involuntary manslaughter against the movie weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

AceShowbiz -A New Mexico judge has told lawyers to “stay the course” on charges including involuntary manslaughter against the movie weapons supervisor in the fatal “Rust” shooting. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is the sole remaining defendant in the gun killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, during the filming of the western on its New Mexico set on October 21, 2021.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejected a request on Tuesday, August 1, from the defense to dismiss charges sets the stage for lengthy evidentiary hearings, starting next week, on manslaughter and evidence-tampering charges against Ms. Gutierrez-Reed. In April prosecutors dropped charges against Alec Baldwin, 65, who was pointing a gun at Halyna when it went off, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza.

It left Ms. Gutierrez-Reed the remaining defendant in the case and if convicted, she faces up to three years in prison. A lawyer for the armorer argued unsuccessfully on Tuesday the case had been compromised by changes in the prosecution team earlier this year, sloppiness with evidence and public statements by prosecutors that might interfere with the right to an impartial jury.

Judge Sommer rejected the arguments and sided with prosecutors, who urged the court to move forward with a preliminary hearing that will decide whether evidence is sufficient to advance to trial. Defense attorneys claimed recent accusations Ms. Gutierrez-Reed was hiding cocaine and being “hung over” during the on-set shooting might sway public opinion.

But Judge Sommer denied the request, stating it was still preliminary and potential jurors hadn’t been affected yet. Prosecutors have said charges still could be refiled against Alec pending further investigation, including an ongoing independent examination by a firearms expert.

Authorities have not yet determined how live ammunition found its way into the .45-caliber revolver made by an Italian company that specializes in 19th century reproductions. Alec has said the gun fired accidentally after he followed instructions to point it toward Halyna, who was behind the camera.

He said he pulled back the hammer but not the trigger and the gun fired. In April, prosecutors commissioned additional weapons testing to investigate whether the hammer of the gun used in the fatal shooting may have been intentionally modified.

Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey said on Tuesday, “We don’t have the firearms report yet, although they told me that it’s forthcoming. I hope to have it by the end of the week. The causation issues as they relate to Mr. Baldwin and the functionality of the firearm do not create causation problems for Ms. Gutierrez. That is our legal opinion.”

In March, “Rust” safety coordinator and assistant director David Halls pleaded no contest to a charge of unsafe handling of a firearm and received a suspended sentence of six months’ probation. He agreed to cooperate in the investigation of the fatal shooting and is listed as a possible witness in evidentiary hearings next week to decide whether the case can advance towards trial.

The filming of “Rust” resumed in April in Montana under an agreement with the cinematographer’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, that makes him an executive producer.

You can share this post!

Source: Read Full Article