Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Charges Against Movie Weapons Supervisor in “Rust” Shooting Case

In a recent court ruling, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer of New Mexico has denied a motion to dismiss charges against movie weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in connection with the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal for the film “Rust.” The judge’s decision paves the way for upcoming evidentiary hearings on involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering charges against Gutierrez-Reed, who is now the sole defendant in the case.

The incident, which occurred on October 21, 2021, involved actor Alec Baldwin accidentally firing a gun that resulted in the death of Hutchins and the injury of director Joel Souza. Prosecutors dropped charges against Baldwin in April, leaving Gutierrez-Reed as the remaining defendant. If convicted, she could face up to three years in prison.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney argued that the case had been compromised due to changes in the prosecution team, mishandling of evidence, and public statements by prosecutors that could potentially influence an impartial jury. However, Judge Sommer dismissed these arguments and sided with the prosecution, emphasizing the need to hold a preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

Prosecutors also stated that charges against Baldwin could be refiled pending further investigation, including ongoing independent examinations by firearms experts. As part of the investigation, authorities are looking into the revolver used in the shooting, as well as other weapons and ammunition seized from the set of “Rust.” The source of the live ammunition found in the .45-caliber revolver, manufactured by an Italian company specializing in 19th century reproductions, is yet to be determined.

Baldwin claimed that the gun discharged accidentally when he followed instructions to point it towards Hutchins, who was behind the camera. He emphasized that he pulled back the hammer, but not the trigger, leading to the unintentional discharge. Prosecutors commissioned additional weapons testing in April to investigate whether the gun’s hammer may have been deliberately modified. The resulting firearms report is still pending, and the functionality of the gun is not expected to create legal obstacles for Gutierrez-Reed.

In a separate development, prosecutors withdrew a motion to conceal the name of a witness who alleges that Gutierrez-Reed handed them a small bag of narcotics after returning from a police station interview. The witness, previously concerned about potential media harassment and industry blacklisting, has agreed not to pursue a protective order.

Defense attorney Jason Bowles has criticized the evidence-tampering charge against Gutierrez-Reed, characterizing it as a vindictive attempt at “character assassination” by the prosecution. “Rust” safety coordinator and assistant director David Halls previously pleaded no contest to a charge of unsafe handling of a firearm and is now cooperating with the investigation. He is listed as a potential witness in the upcoming evidentiary hearings.

Following the tragic incident, the filming of “Rust” resumed in April in Montana, under an agreement with Matthew Hutchins, the widower of Halyna Hutchins. Hutchins now serves as an executive producer for the film.

As this case unfolds, the legal proceedings surrounding the “Rust” shooting continue to captivate the public’s attention. The upcoming evidentiary hearings promise to shed further light on the events that transpired on that fateful day, providing a deeper understanding of the tragic incident and its aftermath.

Author: CrimeDoor

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