Halyna Hutchins, director of photography on "Rust," was killed when actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on set. The assistant director pleaded guilty to a gun charge on Friday. Photo by Halyna Hutchins/Instagram
March 31 (UPI) -- The "Rust" assistant director who handled the gun that killed a cinematographer pleaded no contest on Friday to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
David Halls is the first person to be held criminally accountable in the death of Halyna Hutchins in 2021. Halls was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation, a $500 fine and 24 hours of community service.
He will also have to complete a firearms safety course, as well as testify in upcoming "Rust" hearings or trials.
Alec Baldwin and Hanna Gutierrez-Reed, the film's armorer, have both pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, which carry an 18-month prison sentence.
According to Variety, Halls was in the church building at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, on Oct. 21, 2021, when Hutchins was killed by a single shot from a Colt .45.
Baldwin has said that Halls handed him the gun and said "cold gun," meaning that it did not contain any blank rounds. However, Halls has testified that Gutierrez-Reed was the one who handled the gun, and that he never said "cold gun."
"He is the last line of defense. He needed to check and confirm that the rounds in the gun were actually dummy rounds," prosecutor Kari Morrissey said on Friday, according to Variety. "Mr. Halls did not check every round that it was in the gun to confirm that it was a dummy round."
Halls' defense attorney, Lisa Torraco, said that the no contest plea was easier for Halls' family.
"He can't control how other people handle firearms," Torraco said. "Everybody needs to start processing and moving on. Mr. Halls is in a lot of pain and a lot of trauma."
Preliminary hearings for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed are expected to start in early May.