Rust armourer sentenced to 18 months in fatal shooting

Hannah Gutierrez has been sentenced to 18 months in prison in the shooting of a cinematographer.

Hannah Gutierrez has been sentenced to 18 months in prison in the shooting of a cinematographer.

Hannah Gutierrez, the chief weapons handler on the movie Rust, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison. over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

In March, Gutierrez, 27, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for mistakenly loading a live round into a revolver that actor Alec Baldwin was using on the set in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The shooting, which stunned Hollywood, is believed to be the first time in modern times that a member of a film crew or cast was killed by a live round accidentally loaded into a gun.

Baldwin will go on trial on July 10 after a grand jury indicted him on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in January.

Gutierrez, step-daughter of Hollywood gun trainer Thell Reed, was sentenced by New Mexico District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer.

“You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon,” Sommer said in court on Monday (local time).

“But for you, Ms Hutchins would be alive. A husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

Gutierrez’s lawyer Jason Bowles had requested she be given probation but prosecutors argued for a full 18 months due to lack of contrition.

Prosecutor Kari Morrissey pointed to phone calls by Gutierrez from jail in which she said the jurors were “idiots,” the judge had been “paid off” and she continued to blame Baldwin and others for the shooting.

Gutierrez had already spent a month in Santa Fe county jail following her conviction.

On March 6, a Santa Fe jury took less than two hours to find her guilty. One juror afterwards said Gutierrez had not done her job to ensure weapons safety on set.

“We look forward to the justice system continuing to make sure that everyone else who is responsible for Halyna’s death is required to face the legal consequences for their actions,” the jurors’ statement said.

Hutchins’ death initially prompted US film and television productions to stop using real firearms and blank ammunition.

Armourers say many are using them again, 2½ years later, because of the realistic effects they produce.

Hutchins was fatally shot when Baldwin pointed his gun at the cinematographer and cocked the weapon as she set up a scene.

During Gutierrez’s three-week trial, prosecutors accused her of unknowingly bringing live Colt .45 rounds onto the set of the low-budget movie, something that has been strictly forbidden for nearly a century under Screen Actors Guild safety guidelines.

Bowles said Gutierrez was the scapegoat for a chaotic production where she was not given time to check weapons. He blamed Hutchins’ death on reckless use of firearms by Baldwin and his efforts to rush and control the filming.

Baldwin was also a producer and writer on the movie.

The 30 Rock actor denies pulling the trigger and said he had been directed to aim it at the camera.

But the FBI and an independent firearms expert found the gun would not fire without the trigger depressed.

Film historians such as Alan Rode have look to back to the early part of the last century to find examples of Hollywood cast or crew killed by live rounds accidentally loaded into guns.

Previous on-set fatal shootings of actors Brandon Lee in 1993 and Jon-Erik Hexum in 1984 involved blank rounds.

-with AAP

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