Rust armourer requests prison release ahead of Alec Baldwin trial

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is serving 18 months over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

Dan Gooding
Tuesday 14 May 2024 16:59
'Rust' Armorer Found Guilty Of Involuntary Manslaughter Over Shooting On The Set Of Upcoming Alec Baldwin Movie

The armourer jailed for involuntary manslaughter on the set of Alec Baldwin’s movie Rust is asking to be let out while she appeals her conviction.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed broke down in tears as she was sentenced to 18 months in prison in April – a sentence she is now seeking release from.

The 26-year-old was convicted over the 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, who was rehearsing a scene with the film’s producer and star Alec Baldwin when he drew a replica pistol and fired.

The firearm, provided by Ms Gutierrez-Reed, contained a live round that hit Ms Hutchins, mother of a young son, in the chest and killed her.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed watches her father Thell Reed leave the podium after he asked the judge not to impose prison time on his daughter in First District Court on 15 April 2024, in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Getty Images)

Both the armourer and actor were charged with involuntary manslaughter, with Mr Baldwin’s trial happening in a few months.

At her sentencing, Ms Gutierrez-Reed said she had been the subject of media sensationalisation and was not a “monster”. Now her attorneys have filed a motion to have her conviction overturned and have asked she be released while that takes place.

“Ms Gutierrez Reed is requesting to be released while she appeals, as if her appeal is successful, she will have served most or all of her sentence anyway, rendering a large part of the appeal meaningless,” her lawyer, Jason Bowles, wrote in court papers seen by The Independent. “She is not a danger to the community or a flight risk.”

It is not clear if the motion, filed on 7 May, will be heard by the judge, who has shown little compassion for the armourer, whose job it was to make sure firearms and ammunition were handled safely.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer listens to prosecutor Kari Morrissey and defence attorney Jason Bowles discuss testimony by firearms expert Frank Koucky III during the Hannah Gutierrez-Reed involuntary manslaughter trial (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

At sentencing in April, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer referred to jailhouse phone calls made by Ms Gutierrez-Reed, who was heard raising concerns about her future career prospects rather than showing remorse for her part in the death.

“While you’ve heard [Gutierrez-Reed’s] concerns that she’ll never work again as an armourer ... have her concerns changed? No,” the judge said. “Here’s what she says: this ‘whole thing has been a character attack’ on her. Just recently in her allocution, ‘I’m not a monster.’”

Taking these conversations into account, the judge said that “a conditional discharge is not appropriate”.

“You were the armourer, the one that’s to be between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone. You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon,” the judge said after sentencing. “But, for you, Mrs Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

A still from a video clip played in court shows actor Alec Baldwin during Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s involuntary manslaughter trial at the First Judicial District Courthouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on 29 February 2024 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Baldwin, 66, is due to go on trial, also for involuntary manslaughter, in July. He denies the allegation and a motion hearing to dismiss the indictment is due to take place on 17 May.

The actor previously settled a wrongful death lawsuit in 2022 over the incident.

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