NM v. Hannah Gutierrez: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial

Posted at 8:49 AM, April 15, 2024

SANTA FE, N.M. (Court TV)— Hannah Gutierrez, who served as the armorer on the ill-fated movie “Rust,” was sentenced to the maximum of 18 months behind bars by a judge on April 15. Judge Mary Sommer also designated the conviction a “violent offense,” which means that her sentence can only be reduced by four days per month, as compared to a non-violent offense in which she could have potentially received a deduction of up to 30 days per month.

The jury deliberated for less than three hours before delivering a mixed verdict. Gutierrez, now 26, was found guilty on charges of involuntary manslaughter but acquitted on charges she tampered with evidence after the accidental shooting. Gutierrez, who had been released on bond during the trial, was immediately taken into custody following the conviction.

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Baldwin, the lead actor and producer of “Rust,” was pointing the gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when the fatal shot was fired. Director Joel Souza was also injured in the accident. Baldwin claims he pulled back the hammer of the gun but did not pull the trigger.

Six live rounds were ultimately discovered, some in a box of supposed dummy ammunition brought on set by Gutierrez, in the gun belt worn by actor Jensen Ackles and the bandolier worn by Baldwin.

Hannah Gutierrez walks out of court

Hannah Gutierrez walks out of court during a break in the the first day of testimony in the trial against her in First District Court, in Santa Fe, N.M., Thursday, February 22, 2024.  (Eddie Moore/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP, Pool)

Prosecutors used cell phone data, witness testimony and Gutierrez’s police interview to show how the defendant’s illegal drug and alcohol use contributed to her negligence and recklessness while working on the film set. However, no drug or sobriety tests were conducted in the immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting. A New Mexico district court judge dismissed a request from prosecutors to test her after the fact, calling it “an ambush” against her defense lawyers.

From the beginning, the defense had said Gutierrez was merely a “scapegoat” and someone to blame for a tragic accident. Defense Attorney Jason Bowles accused prosecutors of assassinating Gutierrez’s character in the media through “rumors and improper comments on her guilt.”

“Rust” safety coordinator and assistant director David Halls pleaded no contest to a charge of unsafe handling of a firearm and received a suspended sentence of six months probation, and testified for the prosecution.

Actor Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge and faces up to 18 months in prison if he’s convicted.



SENTENCING – 4/15/24

DAY 10 – 3/6/24

  • A jury of 6 men and 6 women found Hannah Gutierrez guilty of involuntary manslaughter and acquitted her of tampering with evidence after two and half hours of deliberations.
  • Gutierrez appeared to show no emotion as the jury foreman read the verdicts. She removed her necklace before being led into a holding cell after Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey requested that she be remanded into the custody of sheriff’s deputies following the guilty verdict. Her mother Stacy Reed was escorted out of the building after an outburst in the courtroom.
  • Once outside of the building Reed proclaimed her daughter’s innocence and continued to rant, ‘Lies, lies, they all lied,’ referring to some of the state’s witnesses who provided testimony against her daughter.
  • WATCH: Reactions to the Hannah Gutierrez Verdict
  • Juror Alberto Sanchez said he was convinced of her guilt based on the testimony surrounding her failure to follow standard armorer safety protocols.
    • WATCH:  Juror Albert Sanchez Speaks After Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial Verdict
    • “Never did the safety checks, never checked the rounds, pull them out to look at them, shake them. If she had done that this never would have happened,” he said. “Someone died. You got to take responsibility especially when you’re handling weapons and you’re in charge of those things. That’s your job. Lack of experience or whatever you want to call it. You took the job.”
  • Defense Attorney Jason Bowles addressed the media outside the courthouse following the verdict. In his closing argument Bowles argued that his client was being made the scapegoat for a tragedy that was caused by Alec Baldwin and the management of Rust Productions.
    • “We’re obviously disappointed in the verdict. We are disappointed in a lot of things that happened in the courtroom,” said Defense Attorney Jason Bowles. “We plan to appeal; we believe we got a number of issues that we will be asserting.”
    • Bowles did not elaborate further on his disappointment but went on to state that the Government’s case was a lot of ‘guesswork,’ and that the evidence was insufficient for a guilty verdict.
    • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Defense Closing Argument
  • The prosecution team left the courthouse without making a formal statement.
  • Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey in her closing argument told jurors that Hannah Gutierrez contributed to Halyna Hutchins death when she brought live rounds onto the set and failed to detect them for 12 days before the fatal shooting.
  • Sentencing will take place sometime in April. Hannah Gutierrez faces up to 18 months in prison.
  • READ MORE: Jury convicts Hannah Gutierrez of involuntary manslaughter
  • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Day 10 Recap

DAY 9 – 3/5/24

  • During a demo by the defense’s firearms expert – a deputy stepped in to press his firearm toward the floor when he appeared to point his pistol at the judge.
    • Special Prosecutor Kari Morrisey exploited the blunder in her cross pointing out that the number rule in gun safety is never point a firearm at someone.
  • New Mexico’s OSHA officer investigated Rust after the shooting and concluded management was to blame for failing to follow safety protocols and fined Rust Productions 100k.
  • A defense expert in criminal investigations opined that the investigation into the shooting led by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office was lacking.
    • He criticized investigators for not separating Alec Baldwin from other potential witnesses or taking his phone for forensic examination even though he was the shooter.
  • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Day 9 Recap

DAY 8 – 3/4/24

  • Prosecutors rested their case-in-chief after calling a forensic video and image analyst who showed the jury closeups of ammunition captured in video and pictures taken before the fatal shooting that claimed the life of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded Director Joel Souza.
  • Screen shots captured from videos of Alec Baldwin wearing a bandolier show the visual differences in a live round compared to the dummy rounds contained in the gun belt.  Prosecutors contend that should have tipped off Hanna Gutierrez who was the armorer on the set of Rust, had she performed safety protocols to ensure the ammunition being used in Baldwin’s pistol and gun belt were dummies.
  • WATCH: Forensics Analyst Michael Primeau Takes the Stand
  • Among the witnesses prosecutors called to the stand Monday was Seth Kenney, owner of PDQ – the props business that supplied Rust with ammunition and firearms.
  • Kenney denied he was the source of live rounds found on the set of Rust. Kenney testified that Hannah Gutierrez furnished her own dummy rounds left over from her previous movie “The Old Way.’
    • WATCH: Seth Kenney Says He Never Provided Live Ammunition to ‘Rust’ Set
    • He conceded that he had been working with Gutierrez’ father on the series 1883, and as part of the training, they used live rounds in training the actors at a private gun range.  He said he brought the left-over live ammo back to PDQ but denied he had ever sent them to the set of Rust.
  • Crime Scene Investigator Marissa Poppell testified that as part of a search warrant, she seized 45 caliber live ammunition from PDQ, but the ammo did not match the live rounds found on the set of Rust. Furthermore, an FBI chemist testified that PDQ’s live rounds were not of the same chemical composition as the live rounds from Rust.
  • Crew members called by the State testified that Gutierrez’ work on Rust was lacking when compared to other armorers they worked with. They testified that firearms and ammunition were frequently left unattended, that she did not perform safety checks before turning over weapons to actors and did not immediately remove the firearms from actors at the completion of a scene. Witnesses also testified that they did not see Gutierrez shake every dummy round before loading them.
  • Codefendant David Halls testified contrary to Gutierrez’ statement, he did not hand the gun to Baldwin before the fatal shooting. He said that just before Baldwin handled the gun, he was supposed to check the revolver and its ammunition but admitted that Gutierrez did not fully rotate the cylinder, so he could see every round to ensure that they were all dummies. Despite the incomplete view he let the safety check pass. Halls pleaded no contest to the negligent use of a firearm and was given a suspended sentence and six months of unsupervised probation.
  • Gutierrez through her defense attorney Jason Bowles has argued that Alec Baldwin is ultimately to blame for Hutchins’ death. Bowles said the film’s demanding shooting schedule and tight budget prevented his client from carrying out her duties. Bowles maintains she was denied extra time to adequately train Baldwin. Gutierrez was required to serve a dual role as armorer and props assistant and claimed that she was rushed and spread too thin. Her defense has argued that Baldwin’s commanding presence as both movie star and producer discouraged even senior crew members from challenging him.
  • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Day 8 Recap
  • READ MORE: Ammo supplier says he provided no live rounds in fatal ‘Rust’ shooting

DAY 7 – 3/1/24

  • Prop master Sarah Zachry revealed she has a cooperation agreement with prosecutors that if she testifies against HG she won’t be prosecuted.
  • On cross she admitted dumping the rounds that she loaded into two revolvers, then texted and called her employer Seth Kenney who provided the ammunition for the movie.
  • Director Joel Souza described the moment he was shot as ‘someone took a bat to his shoulder’ – he didn’t believe it was a bullet until they showed him an x-ray.
  • A stunt man recalls being asked about a missing rifle – and describes how the defendant left guns and ammunition unattended and did not immediately collect weapons after actors were done filming a scene.
  • A Medic who had been handing out bug spray and sunscreen on the Rust set suddenly found herself having to treat a gunshot wound, which she said they were ill-prepared for.
  • Same medic became emotional when she testified about going home that day to her son, who was the same age as HH’s son , and was distraught that she could not save her life. (Judge struck this part of her testimony).
  • Script Supervisor Mamie Mitchell testified that HG’s prop cart looked like a messy kitchen drawer, unlike what she was used to seeing on other films where armorers were focused and organized.
  • READ MORE: ‘Rust’ Director: Getting shot felt like getting hit with bat
  • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Day 7 Recap

DAY 6 – 2/29/24

DAY 5 – 2/28/24

  • Prosecutors played Hannah Gutierrez’ Nov 9th interview with police (2nd interview).
  • Police narrow the timeline from when Gutierrez loads the gun and passes it to Dave Halls who hands it to Alec Baldwin. There is no time for anyone else to handle the gun after she admits she cleaned and loaded the final round into Baldwin’s revolver before passing the gun off to Halls.
  • Gutierrez says she shook the box of dummies and heard jiggling – prosecutor notes she did not check each round.
  • Defense suggests the investigation was influenced by Seth Kenney Rust’s ammunition supplier, who steered investigators toward HG as having brought live rounds to the set.
  • Defense also suggests that investigators treated Baldwin with deference immediately after the shooting and during their investigation.
  • Gabrielle Pickle one of the producers on Rust said she expressed concern to Gutierrez that firearms were being left unattended on the set. Told her in email and in person.
  • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Day 5 Recap
  • READ MORE: ‘Rust’ production manager testifies about gun oversight

DAY 4 – 2/27/24

  • Chief Medical Examiner rules Halyna Hutchins death an accident – no evidence that there was an intent to cause death
  • A Forensics Digital Examiner extracts text messages from Hannah Gutierrez’s  phone in which she appears to be anxious to recover her ‘stuff’ – a bag of suspected cocaine that she unloaded after an interview with police.
  • A second firearms expert testifies that the revolver Baldwin used was in good working order and could not have misfired accidentally even after it was broken in testing.
  • The same firearms expert testified that the hammer had to be cocked and the trigger depressed or pulled for the gun to discharge.
  • Hannah Gutierrez is captured on police bodycam lamenting ‘she f’ her career’ after the incident.
  • In police interviews Hannah admits she did not check the gun after lunch because it had been locked up during lunch and admits she should have checked it more.
  • In a follow up police interview she described having to do double duty as prop assistant and having to train three actors at a time when she would rather have one on one training.
  • She said Alec Baldwin was on the phone when she tried to train him on the use of the firearms.
  • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Day 4 Recap
  • READ MORE: Firearms expert: Gun wouldn’t malfunction in fatal shooting by Baldwin

DAY 3 – 2/26/24

  • Crew member Ross Addiego became emotional and wept while describing the scene they were filming when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and the director wounded.
    • Addiego testified that Hannah Gutierrez was not as conscious of safety protocols as other armorers that he worked with and that the firearms were left on the cart unattended.
    • He was concerned about safety when two accidental discharges occurred within an hour of each other.
    • Addiego’s testimony included clips from the scene Baldwin was rehearsing when his gun discharged.
    • On cross Defense Attorney Jason Bowles called attention to the witness’ civil suit which does not name Hannah Gutierrez as a defendant but blames the shooting death on Alex Baldwin and Rust Productions.
    • He agreed that despite a lot of complaining about the chaos on the set and a demanding and rushed schedule no one stood up to Alec Baldwin.
  • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Day 3 Recap

DAY 2 – 2/23/24

  • Rust Unit Production Manager testifies 6 members of the crew resigned the day before the shooting of Hutchins–citing safety concerns.
  • A few days after the incident and before police executed a search warrant Hannah Gutierrez asked for access to the prop truck and retrieved a gun belt and cardboard boxes.
  • The Defense suggests Rust’s supplier PDQ could have passed along the live rounds after .45 caliber Colt live ammunition was seized from the business. (The jury has not yet heard from the expert who is expected to testify those rounds were later tested and found not to be of the same chemical composition as those found on the Rust set.)
  • Pictures of PDQ both inside and outside appear to show  a business in disarray and disorganization.
  • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Day 2 Recap

DAY 1 – 2/22/24

  • Prosecutor Jason Lewis opened for the state with the theme that Hannah Gutierrez’ was negligent and failed to follow safety protocols and her recklessness contributed to the death of Halyna Hutchins and put others on the Rust set at risk
  • Defense attorney Jason Bowles representing Hannah Gutierrez said Alec Baldwin broke the number one rule when handling a gun, never point it at someone. He said Baldwin was ultimately responsible for Hutchins’ death and that the state was making Gutierrez a  ‘scapegoat.’
  • Video recorded by an officer’s bodycam shown to the jury reflected a chaotic scene after Hutchins was shot with crew members hovering over her trying to administer first aid. (Audio to the media only)
  • Bodycam footage from a supervising deputy captures Hannah Gutierrez appearing confused and stressed talking to a  crew member about the ammo and bursting into tears when questioned by police.
  • Investigators would recover a total of six live rounds on the set of Rust. In addition to the live round Baldwin fired, a second one was found in his gun belt, another in another actor’s gun belt, two more from the armorer’s messy and disorganized cart, and one photographed in Gutierrez’ lap.
  • WATCH: Baldwin Movie Shooting Trial: Day 1 Recap