Rust Shooting Gets A Verdict But It’s Not Against Alec Baldwin
Rust first assistant director and safety coordinator David Halls has been sentenced to six months probation for negligent use of a deadly weapon.
The Rust shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has been a legal mess ever since the incident occurred, but now someone has finally been officially charged with something related to the tragedy, and it’s not Alec Baldwin. According to Variety, first assistant director and safety coordinator David Halls pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. Halls will not face jail time for his gun charge but will serve six months of unsupervised probation.
The Rust shooting legal saga will continue in May when Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed attend a preliminary hearing for involuntary manslaughter charges being brought against them by prosecutors. Halls is reportedly expected to testify in this hearing. Gutierrez Reed was alleged to be the one who loaded the firearm, and Baldwin was the one holding the firearm when the shot that killed Hutchins was fired, though he maintains that he did not pull the trigger.
Allegedly, Halls’ involvement in the Rust shooting is that he was the one who handed the gun to Baldwin after Gutierrez Reed’s initial check. The reports also say that Halls said the gun was ‘cold’ when handing it to Baldwin and that Gutierrez Reed had handed the gun to Halls and left before Baldwin was on set. Halls’ own recollection of events directly contradicts this narrative, as he said that Gutierrez Reed handed the gun to Baldwin and that he remembers her calling the gun cold, not him.
Other eyewitnesses also have contradicting statements about Halls’ involvement in the Rust shooting case, so there may be some more clarity when the manslaughter case begins preliminary hearings. Halls has previously said that Gutierrez Reed also initially had the gun empty but then decided to load it with dummy rounds. Halls testified that the only time he held the gun before the incident was when Baldwin asked him to hold it while he adjusted his shoulder holster and that he held the gun with two fingers by the handle away from his body.
After the Rust shooting, Halls initially said in a sheriff’s interview that he should have checked all of the dummy rounds, but he didn’t, which is what led to the eventual negligence charge. Halls’ lawyer, Lisa Torraco, did dispute that Halls should be held accountable for the overall safety of the set at all times, saying “He can’t control how other people handle firearms.” Halls’ attorney added that the no-contest plea was given in an effort to “make things easier for the family” and “to start processing and moving on.”
While Halls’ attorney tried to appeal to have his sentence deferred, the judge ruled to enact the six-month probation. With this charge and sentence settled, the manslaughter hearings will be the next big step in the ongoing Rust shooting story. Variety’s report states that if Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed are convicted, they could face up to 18 months in prison.
It remains to be seen if Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed will be charged for the Rust shooting. We’ll keep you updated about this developing story. Meanwhile, the film is still set to pick production back up in Spring and will also star Jensen Ackles, Travis Fimmel, Brady Noon, and Frances Fisher.