New Mexico Judge Upholds Evidence-Tampering Charge Against Hannah Gutierrez in Alec Baldwin Shooting Case

In a recent development in the high-profile case surrounding the accidental shooting on the set of the movie Rust, a New Mexico judge has upheld the evidence-tampering charge against Hannah Gutierrez, the rookie armorer involved in the incident. The charge alleges that Gutierrez handed off a bag of cocaine to a crew member shortly after the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ruled in favor of the prosecution, stating that the tampering charge and the involuntary manslaughter charge were connected by the “same conduct or series of acts.”

Prosecutor Kari Morrissey argued that Gutierrez’s actions, which included bringing live rounds onto the set, failing to discover them for 12 days, loading one into a gun, and subsequently causing a death, were all part of a chain of events that linked the tampering charge to the involuntary manslaughter charge. The judge agreed with this argument, allowing the tampering charge to remain.

During the pre-trial hearing, the judge also made a split decision regarding the admissibility of text messages allegedly depicting Gutierrez’s use of marijuana and cocaine leading up to the shooting. While some texts were deemed potentially prejudicial, the judge ruled that several messages retrieved from Gutierrez’s phone, showing her smoking cannabis at her hotel during production, could be presented to the jury.

The ruling included texts in which Gutierrez mentioned smoking in the jacuzzi and getting high. Additionally, prosecutors were allowed to introduce texts that allegedly indicated Gutierrez had handed off cocaine to a crew member on the night of the shooting and later requested it back. The defense, however, succeeded in keeping out less-relevant texts, including an exchange between prop master Sarah Zachry and prop supplier Seth Kenney, where Zachry claimed Gutierrez was “blackout drunk” before the fatal incident.

Hannah Gutierrez, who has pleaded not guilty, maintains that she was unfairly assigned multiple roles on the set and was denied the necessary resources and time to fulfill her responsibilities. She denies being the source of the real bullets found on set and has suggested the possibility of sabotage or the involvement of prop supplier Seth Kenney, who allegedly obtained a bucket of mixed real and dummy ammunition from Gutierrez’s stepfather, Thell Reed, a renowned Hollywood armorer.

In another setback for the defense, the judge ruled that it was too late to introduce a new witness as an expert, as the individual had only recently come forward. Defense lawyer Jason Bowles had sought to put an armorer on the stand, but prosecutors argued that there was insufficient time to interview the witness and prepare.

Despite these challenges, the defense expressed satisfaction with the judge’s decision to allow a defense expert to reference a report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that highlighted numerous safety issues on the Rust set.

While Hannah Gutierrez is the first person to face trial in connection with the tragic shooting, prosecutors have indicated that others may also bear responsibility. Alec Baldwin, who accidentally discharged the prop weapon, pleaded not guilty to his own involuntary manslaughter charge. Assistant Director Dave Halls previously entered a no-contest plea to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. This is absolutely appalling! How could someone tamper with evidence in such a serious and tragic case? Hannah Gutierrez should be held accountable for her actions. It is beyond belief that a rookie armorer could be so careless and negligent, leading to the loss of a life. This incident has already caused immense pain and suffering, and now we have evidence tampering on top of it all. It’s a disgrace and a complete disregard for justice. The victims and their families deserve better than this.

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