What does the sentencing of ‘Rust’ armorer mean for Alec Baldwin and New Mexico film industry?

What does the sentencing of ‘Rust’ armorer mean for Alec Baldwin and New Mexico film industry?

What could Gutierrez-Reed's conviction and sentencing Monday mean for Alec Baldwin and our successful film industry in New Mexico? That's what KOB 4 looked into Monday.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Former “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed started her 18-month prison sentence in our state Monday – the maximum allowed. 

Just last month, a Santa Fe county jury convicted Gutierrez-Reed of involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.  

Somehow, a live bullet ended up in a gun used during rehearsal on the “Rust” set. Actor Alec Baldwin was using the gun when it went off, hitting Hutchins and the film’s director, who survived.

Baldwin, who was also a producer of the movie, is also facing involuntary manslaughter charges and is set to go on trial in less than three months. 

What could Gutierrez-Reed’s conviction and sentencing Monday mean for Alec Baldwin and our successful film industry in New Mexico? That’s what KOB 4 looked into Monday.  

Prosecutors will use a lot of the same evidence they presented in Gutierrez-Reed’s trial when they take on Baldwin to court in July. 

Prosecutors successfully argued to a grand jury that Baldwin should be charged because he was the one holding the gun, and he was an executive producer of “Rust.”

His lawyers have tried multiple times to get the charges against him dismissed as recently as last week. 

Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey is firing back at Baldwin’s defense team, and its latest attempt to get involuntary manslaughter charges against him dismissed. 

She says the defense’s arguments in its recent request are false, misleading and a misrepresentation of the facts. 

Baldwin’s attorney claimed he wouldn’t get a fair trial, claiming prosecutors told the media they were charging him before Baldwin even found out. 

While a judge still has to rule on the request to dismiss charges, Baldwin’s trial is set to begin in Santa Fe county on July 9. In the same courthouse where a jury convicted Gutierrez-Reed last month and where a judge sentenced her on Monday. 

“You were the armor, the one that stood between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone. You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon,” said Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer in court Monday. 

Judge Sommer gave Gutierrez-Reed the maximum punishment – 18 months in prison. 

Morrissey didn’t want to speculate how this outcome could impact Baldwin’s upcoming trial. 

“You know I wouldn’t want to comment on it. The cases are very different, I think that sentencing that is to a degree individual. So I wouldn’t say this is anything reflective of what may happen in that case,” said Morrissey. 

While she is pleased with Monday’s ruling, she hopes it doesn’t discourage filmmakers from selecting New Mexico. 

“We want film companies to come to New Mexico, we just want them to be careful that everyone is properly trained and safety when you are using real guns on movie sets is being strictly adhered to,” Morrissey said. 

High profile attorney Gloria Allred was also in court Monday, representing Hutchin’s family. They’ve filed civil suits against Baldwin and the “Rust” production. 

She says this case was the wake-up call many in the industry needed.

“People in Hollywood are not above the law and there are many people on that set of ‘Rust,’ from crew members whose lives matter too,” said Allred. 

As far as Baldwin’s trial, she says she only wants to see complete justice for the Hutchins’ family. 

“It shouldn’t be the question of, ‘Oh, this guy did it he went this way and someone else is responsible.’ We all have this duty of reasonable care, and we will see what the jury decides,” said Allred. 

KOB 4 reached out to our state film office Monday to see how reps believe this case will impact changes within New Mexico’s industry. But no one got back to us.