Rust Armorer Seeks New Trial After Conviction In On-Set Shooting

By Jason Collins | Published

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the Rust movie set armorer, is challenging her conviction on an involuntary manslaughter charge in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin. Her attorneys have asked the judge to release Gutierrez-Reed from jail and grant her a new trial in the Rust shooting case, citing a recent New Mexico Supreme Court ruling in another case.

A Good Argument For A New Trial

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was convicted of involuntary manslaughter this month, but her defense attorneys now challenge the court ruling based on the instructions that were given to the jurors. Namely, the “and/or” conjunction allowed the jurors to convict Hannah Gutierrez-Reed even if they weren’t unanimous. Something similar happened just a few days ago when the New Mexico Supreme Court overturned the conviction of two daycare workers on similar grounds over an “and/or” conjunction, stating that it isn’t suited for formulating clear jury instructions.

Defense Is Optimistic

The defense attorneys believe that the recent ruling means that an appeals court is likely to order a new trial for Gutierrez-Reed based on the unclear instructions provided to the jury. They also urge for Gutierrez-Reed’s release while the appeal is pending, and it’s more than likely that the defense will cite several other issues in its appeal regarding Gutierrez-Reed’s involvement in the Rust shooting incident. With all of that said, there’s really a lot to unpack here.

The Fateful Event

alec baldwin rust

For those who aren’t familiar with the Rust shooting, the movie set armorer faces up to 18 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter after negligently loading a live bullet into Alec Baldwin’s gun. That particular gun accidentally fired during scene rehearsal, striking cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the chest, fatally wounding the cinematographer, who soon succumbed to her wounds. The Santa Fe district attorney charged both Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed with two counts of involuntary manslaughter each.

Alec Baldwin’s Involvement

alec baldwin rust

First assistant director David Halls agreed to plead guilty to the charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon, while Baldwin pleaded not guilty—it was later also reported that the prosecutors dropped the charges against Alec Baldwin. Gutierrez-Reed was also charged with tampering with evidence, but she pleaded not guilty to both charges. Following her trial, which concluded on March 6, 2024, Gutierrez-Reed was found guilty on the charge of involuntary manslaughter but acquitted of tampering with evidence in the Rust shooting incident.

In Custody

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed currently remains in custody until her sentencing hearing is set for April 15, 2024. Alec Baldwin, on the other hand, was indicted by a grand jury in January and has pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge, with trial set for July this year. Involuntary manslaughter carries a felony sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine, and Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys are now challenging previous rulings regarding the Rust shooting incident and fighting for her release.

Following the Rust shooting incident, the filming resumed, and the production concluded in May 2023. However, the movie still doesn’t have an official release date, though a first look at the film was released this January, showcasing Halyna Hutchins’s work on the cinematography.