Judge Slams ‘Rust’ Armorer—and Gives Her the Maximum Sentence

Reuters/Eddie Moore
Reuters/Eddie Moore

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film armorer on Rust who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the on-set fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday.

It’s the maximum sentence Gutierrez-Reed, 26, faced—a far cry from being sentenced to probation, which her attorneys argued in favor of.

Hutchins was shot dead in New Mexico on Oct. 21, 2021, by a prop gun that prosecutors said was fired by Alec Baldwin as he practiced drawing it from his shoulder for an upcoming scene. Instead of firing a blank, however, a live bullet left Baldwin’s gun—a misstep that prosecutors say came from Gutierrez-Reed’s recklessness and failure to do her job managing weapons and ammunition.

Baldwin faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter himself, but is yet to stand trial.

He has pleaded not guilty and has motioned for the case to be thrown out.

‘Rust’ Prosecutors Say Armorer’s Jail Calls Show No ‘Genuine Remorse’

Just before sentencing, prosecutors played calls that Gutierrez-Reed made from jail just hours after her conviction, during which she attacked the jurors at her trial as well as Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer, who she said was on a “power trip” and was “getting paid off.”

Those comments likely did her little favors ahead of sentencing, but she pleaded Monday with the judge to show mercy to her because of her age, lack of training, and lack of resources on set.

“Your honor, when I took on ‘Rust,’ I was young and I was naïve, but I took my job as seriously as I knew how to,” she said. “Despite not having proper time, resources, and staffing when things got tough, I just did my best to handle it.”

She added that Hutchins’ death was a “God-awful tragedy,” but it wasn’t enough for Sommer to consider keeping her out of prison.

Sommer said Monday that Gutierrez-Reed’s remorse had come too late, adding that, during her trial, her “attorney had to tell the court you were remorseful.”

After reading Gutierrez-Reed her fate, Sommer again skewered her.

“You were the armorer, the one that stood between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone,” she said. “You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you, Ms. Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner, and a little boy would have his mother.”

Prosecutors will now shift their attention to convicting Baldwin on the same charge. Prosecutors have alleged he didn’t do his own due diligence to ensure the weapon was safe on the set of Rust—a film that he co-produced.

Alec Baldwin Had ‘No Control’ Over His Emotions on the ‘Rust’ Set, Prosecutors Say

Baldwin has countered it wasn’t his responsibility to check the weapon, noting that professionals are hired to oversee guns and safety. He also claimed he never pulled the weapon’s trigger, despite investigators claiming evidence shows otherwise. His trial is slated to begin in July.

Family and friends of Hutchins, a 42-year-old mother and cinematographer, testified that their loved one had been forgotten amid the legal battle between Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed, and New Mexico.

“I feel like she has gotten lost in the swarm of all the finger-pointing and blame in the aftermath of this completely preventable tragedy,” said her friend, Jen White.

Emilia Mendieta, another friend, added that Hutchins’ excitement to be a part of Rust made the fatal mistake all-the-more heartbreaking.

“I often think about that moment,” Mendieta said of Hutchins. “Her excitement, her joy at embarking on this new adventure.”

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