‘Rust’ Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Sentenced to 18 Months for Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction

New Mexico prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence, and got it

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed leaves the New Mexico courtroom
"Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed appears in court.

“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was sentenced Monday to 18 months in a New Mexico prison, the maximum sentence possible for her conviction on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

The young and inexperienced armorer in charge of guns and ammunition on the set of “Rust” when Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021 was found guilty by a jury last month. She was acquitted on evidence-tampering charges that could have extended her sentence further.

Gutierrez-Reed, now 26, was taken directly to jail just moments after her March 6 conviction, which came after only two hours of jury deliberations. The daughter of legendary Hollywood armorer and trick-shooter Thell Reed was accused of sloppy work and other industry-standard failures that contributed to Hutchins’ death.

Attorneys questioned several witnesses over nine days, including assistant director David Halls, multiple firearms experts and members of the low-budget western’s crew. While giving her closing statement, special prosecutor Kari Morrissey flashed still images showing blatant safety violations on the set, including stunt men pointing muzzles at actors, live rounds mixed in with ammo boxes and bandoliers meant only for “dummy” rounds.

On Monday, prosecutors noted Gutierrez-Reed’s apparent lack of remorse when asking for the maximum sentence. Gutierrez-Reed, who did not testify at her trial, had requested probation, and spoke on her own behalf before the sentence was read.

“My heart aches for the Hutchins’ family and friends, and colleagues, since this tragedy,” she said.

New Mexico’s pursuit of justice for the accidental shooting of the cinematographer stumbled along for two and a half years, beset by delays including a previous prosecutor who tried to charge the defendants with a firearms enhancement that wasn’t yet law when Baldwin shot Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021.

Throughout the trial, the defense leaned hard into its theory that someone other than Gutierrez-Reed was responsible for the live rounds lurking around the “Rust” set, whether by negligence or some unthinkably risky game of career sabotage.

Baldwin is expected to also stand trial later this summer on separate manslaughter charges. Though he was not called to testify, the jury saw eyefuls of Baldwin firing weapons in on-set video and b-roll footage, including moments where the producer and actor can be seen barking orders at his crew to reload and another where he uses a gun as a “pointing stick” to move cast and crew around.

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