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'Rust' movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed sentenced to 18 months

Reed was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month for the killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021.
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"Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 18 months in prison in a Santa Fe, New Mexico, court Monday for the killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month.

The judge referred to Gutierrez-Reed's lack of remorse before she handed down the sentence.

"Your attorney had to tell the court you were remorseful," she said.

Following the sentence, she said, "You were the armorer who stood between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone. [But] for you, she would be alive."

Prosecutors sought the maximum penalty of 18 months in state prison.

In an interview following the sentencing New Mexico special prosecutor Kari T. Morrissey said the prosecutors “respect the judge’s decision.”

“It’s been a difficult case. ... But taking responsibility I think is critical in the criminal justice system and that was something that unfortunately was lacking from Miss Gutierrez,” Morrissey said.

At the start of the sentencing hearing, Morrissey said she reviewed Gutierrez-Reed’s phone calls from jail to inform what sentence length to recommend to the judge. Morrissey said that the calls made by Gutierrez-Reed “tell us who she really is,” that she does not take responsibility for Hutchins’ death and that she “chooses to place blame on the witnesses that testified against her, me, you.”

In an interview following the sentencing Morrissey said that when she heard those phone calls she experienced "compassion fatigue."

"The state has approached this prosecution from a standpoint of compassion for Miss Gutierrez for her age for her lack of experience. And my compassion came to an end," Morrissey said.

Gutierrez-Reed, who was dressed in a khaki prison uniform with a long-sleeve white T-shirt underneath, wiped away tears as Hutchins’ agent, Craig Mizrahi, read a victim impact statement to the court during the sentencing hearing.

Image: Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed watches her father, Thell Reed, leave the podium Monday after he asked the judge not to impose prison time on his daughter.Eddie Moore / Pool via AP

"Rust" director Joel Souza, who was also injured during the incident, read a victim impact statement virtually. He said the last two and half years have been “difficult to put into words” and that “I want everyone damaged by Ms. Reed’s failures that day to find peace. ... I want the pain to go away. ... She had a talent for life, she was a touchstone for all who knew her and those of us who were lucky enough to have shared in her fleeting time on this planet were better for it.”

Hutchins’ mother spoke in a video recorded in her native Ukraine. She sobbed as she recalled her life without her daughter, saying, “It’s extremely difficult without her.”

“There are no words to describe. Time does not heal,” she added.

The prosecutors concluded their presentation with a slideshow of photos of Hutchins set to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here."

Gutierrez-Reed was crying as she addressed the court asking for probation, saying that "my heart aches for Hutchins and her friends and family."

She added that Hutchins "will always be an inspiration" and that her "heart goes out."

“I beg you, please don’t give me more time,” Gutierrez-Reed said.

Following Gutierrez-Reed's conviction, the judge ordered the 26-year-old to be held in police custody pending her sentencing. She was found not guilty of tampering with evidence.

In recorded jail phone conversations with her mother, boyfriend and her attorney’s paralegal, Gutierrez-Reed called jurors “idiots” and “a--holes” while complaining about the length of time it took them to deliberate, according to a recent filing by prosecutors.

Also in the phone calls, she said that she would not testify in actor Alec Baldwin’s upcoming criminal trial if subpoenaed and that she wants him to go to jail, too.

The almost two-week criminal trial centered on the shooting on the “Rust” film set in 2021, when Baldwin held a prop gun that fired a live round of ammunition, killing Hutchins, 42. The bullet also injured Souza.

Image: The set of "Rust" in the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., on Oct. 23, 2021.
The set of "Rust" on Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., on Oct. 23, 2021.Jae C. Hong / AP file

During the prosecution’s closing arguments, special prosecutor Kari T. Morrissey told the jury that Gutierrez-Reed “was negligent, she was careless, she was thoughtless.”

But Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, said the prosecutors had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Gutierrez-Reed was responsible for taking live rounds onto the set and alleged that Baldwin was ultimately responsible for Hutchins’ death.

He also doubled down, saying “What caused her to pass was Mr. Baldwin going off-script and pointing the weapon.”

Bowles added that “the only ultimate act is the pointing of that weapon. Ms. Gutierrez wasn’t in the church, she didn’t point that weapon, she didn’t pull it.”

Baldwin, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter, is set to stand trial in July.