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'Rust' armorer appeals involuntary manslaughter conviction

By Mike Heuer
"Rust" film armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has appealed her involuntary manslaughter conviction for the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during filming in New Mexico on Oct. 21, 2021, and wants to be release from prison pending the outcome of her appeal. Photo by Luis Sanchez Saturno/Pool/EPA-EFE
"Rust" film armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has appealed her involuntary manslaughter conviction for the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during filming in New Mexico on Oct. 21, 2021, and wants to be release from prison pending the outcome of her appeal. Photo by Luis Sanchez Saturno/Pool/EPA-EFE

May 14 (UPI) -- Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has appealed her 18-month sentence in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rust in October 2021.

Gutierrez-Reed's legal team on Monday filed an appeal with the New Mexico Court of Appeals. They argued she was scapegoated for the fatal shooting.

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Her defense team is appealing her conviction and the trial judge's denial of several pretrial motions, including one to dismiss the case.

The appeal said Gutierrez-Reed, 26, is not a flight risk or a danger to the community and asked that she be released from prison pending her appeal.

If her appeal is successful, she would have served most of her sentence despite ultimately being found innocent, her legal team said.

A Santa Fe County jury found Gutierrez-Reed guilty of negligent manslaughter on March 6, and the trial judge sentenced her to a maximum of 18 months in prison on April 15.

The film's producer and lead actor Alec Baldwin was practicing a cross-draw with vintage-style Colt .45 revolver, which fired the shot that killed Hutchins, 42, and injured director Joel Souza in one shoulder.

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Gutierrez-Reed was responsible for all weapons and ammunition on set as the film's armorer, but at least one live bullet got onto the set, which fatally struck Hutchins.

Prosecutors said Gutierrez-Reed violated safety protocols and was negligent in her duties as the film's armorer.

Baldwin is scheduled to go on trial for involuntary manslaughter on July 9 in the Santa Fe County Court.

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