Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s bid for a new shooting trial denied

A New Mexico judge has denied Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s motion for a new trial and motion for release, saying that Gutierrez-Reed’s planned sentencing for 15 April will go forward.

On Friday, Gutierrez-Reed appeared before District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer via teleconference from the county jail where she is being held to make her plea in the hopes of obtaining a new trial.

Gutierrez-Reed was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the 2021 shooting on the Rust set that led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Dressed in a beige jumpsuit, Gutierrez-Reed remained straight-faced as her attorney, Jason Bowles, argued to the judge that there had been a mistake in the jury instructions thus warranting a new trial.

The prosecutor for New Mexico disagreed and criticised Mr Bowles for submitting a vague and short motion for a new trial.

Ultimately Judge Sommer agreed with the state, denying Gutierrez-Reed’s emergency motion for a new trial.

Later, when Mr Bowles asked the judge to consider releasing Gutierrez-Reed so she could care for her ill father, Judge Sommer denied the motion.

“Keep in mind, there was a death that the jury determined was caused by her, so I’m not releasing her,” Judge Sommer said.

Gutierrez-Reed will appear back in court next month for her sentencing. She faces a maximum of 18 months in prison.

Nearly two and a half years ago, Gutierrez-Reed was working on the set of Rust as the weapons supervisor when filming resulted in a tragic loss.

Alec Baldwin, who is starring in the Western film, pulled a Colt 45 replica from his holster while practising for a scene when it went off. A bullet struck Hutchins in the chest and struck director Joel Souza in the stomach. Hutchins died from her injuries.

Gutierrez-Reed was charged with involuntary manslaughter in January 2023 and went to trial earlier this month.

Prosecutors argued Gutierrez-Reed unknowingly brought live ammunition on the set and failed to conduct standard gun safety checks and follow protocol, leading to the fatal shooting.

Moment Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed immediately sent to jail for involuntary manslaughter (Pool via AP)
Moment Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed immediately sent to jail for involuntary manslaughter (Pool via AP)

Mr Bowles’s argument on Friday hinged largely on a theory that the jury should have been asked to unanimously decide if Gutierrez-Reed was guilty of involuntary manslaughter because of the use of “and / or” in the jury instruction.

The argument emerged from a recent New Mexico case.

But Judge Sommer did not agree it applied to Gutierrez-Reed’s case.

In the final moments of the brief hearing, Gutierrez-Reed appeared disappointed. Her back sank into the chair she was sitting on before the video conference ended.