‘Rust’ Armorer To Stay In Jail, Judge Says; New Trial Denied For Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will remain behind bars as the Rust armorer awaits sentencing on her involuntary manslaughter conviction, a New Mexico judge ruled today.

“Keep in mind there was a death that the jury determined was caused by her so I’m not releasing her,” said Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer in a virtual hearing on motions filed by Gutierrez-Reed’s defense team for her release and a new trial.

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The new trial effort was also shut down by Judge Sommer on Friday.

After a two-week trial, Gutierrez-Reed was found guilty on Match 6 of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal October 21, 2021 shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the indie Western. The jury, made up of seven women and five men, found the ex-armorer not guilty of the charge of evidence tampering. Special Prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis argued Gutierrez-Reed was responsible for live rounds getting in the gun Alec Baldwin was holding on the Rust set at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Baldwin has always said he never pulled the trigger on the Colt .45 that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. While never establishing a single cause, Gutierrez-Reed’s defense has over the years offered a number of theories on how those fatal rounds got there, including sabotage.

Taken away by Santa Fe County deputies within minutes of the verdict being read out, Gutierrez-Reed is looking at a sentence of up to 18 months and around $5,000 in fines.

Gutierrez-Reed is set to be sentenced on April 15.

Just a few days after the verdict was reached by the jury, Gutierrez-Reed’s Jason Bowles-led legal team filed the motion for a new trial based on confusing jury instructions by the judge.

“The jury instructions here invited the jury to come to a non-unanimous verdict, picking and choosing from a ‘smorgasbord’ of different and varied acts to achieve a conviction,” the defense said in their March 27 reply to the prosecutions’ objection to their motion and its reference to another case where there were muddled instructions given to a jury. “This is precisely what the special prosecutor invited the jury at trial to do in her closing arguments. This is precisely what cannot be done in our criminal justice system where a person’s liberty is at stake.”

With Gutierrez-Reed attending the virtual hearing today from Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility, Judge Sommer wasn’t buying the defense’s argument and its critique of her use of  the “and/or” clause to distinguish the two charges the jury were contemplating.

Jason Bowles declined comment on today’s hearing when contacted by Deadline. However, looking at public use of private correspondence as evidence in the trial, the defense does plan on trying to counter the case on other grounds in the next week, I hear.

Whatever goes down in Gutierrez-Reed’s case, the Rust tragedy spotlight will soon be shifting to Baldwin. Citing errors in evidence and serious omissions by the prosecution in a March 14 filing, the Rust star/producer is fighting to have the case against him tossed out again, currently multi-Emmy winner Baldwin is on the calendar to go on trial for involuntary manslaughter himself on July 9.

Like armorer Gutierrez-Reed, Baldwin could get up to 18 months in a New Mexico state facility if found guilty.

Recharged with involuntary manslaughter himself in January and having entered a not guilty plea not long afterward, Baldwin potentially also faces a plethora of civil cases related to the horrible Rust accident in California and New Mexico courts.

Rust was resurrected early last year and completed filming in Montana with Baldwin and Souza back on set. The finished Rust has been out to buyers for months, but so far no one’s bought it.

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