Bad News for Alec Baldwin After Conviction of ‘Rust’ Armorer

Bad News for Alec Baldwin After Conviction of ‘Rust’ Armorer

On Oct. 21, 2021, actor Alec Baldwin held a Colt .45 on the set of the movie “Rust” near Santa Fe, New Mexico. While still in Baldwin’s hand, the gun discharged a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

Last week, the New Mexico legal system gave Baldwin a preview of the reckoning that might await him this summer.

In a Santa Fe courtroom on Wednesday, jurors deliberated for fewer than three hours before it convicted “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed of involuntary manslaughter. She faces up to 18 months in prison, according to ABC.

On movie sets, the armorer bears responsibility for all weapons. Thus, the jury found Gutierrez-Reed guilty.

Afterward, juror Alberto Sanchez spoke to reporters and explained the verdict.

“(She) never did the safety checks. Never checked the rounds. Not looking at them or shaking them. I mean, if you did that, it wouldn’t have happened,” Sanchez said according to KOAT-TV in Albuquerque.

Authorities immediately took Gutierrez-Reed into custody. Her sentencing likely will occur in April, according to KOAT.

Meanwhile, the celebrity news website TMZ reported Saturday that Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney said after the verdict that his client is already having a difficult time behind bars.

Baldwin, of course, cannot view with indifference either the verdict or Gutierrez-Reed’s reported struggles with the experience of jail.

After all, the 65-year-old actor will face the same witnesses, prosecutors and even the same judge when his own trial for involuntary manslaughter begins in July, according to ABC.

Former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Emily Baker, in fact, regarded the conviction of Gutierrez-Reed as ominous for Baldwin.

Baker called Wednesday’s “swift” verdict “some indication to [Baldwin’s] team that he may also be convicted in this case,” according to People magazine.

“The problem Baldwin has is the negligent use of a firearm component of the involuntary manslaughter because every weapons expert agrees that you [shouldn’t] point a gun at someone’s chest and pull the trigger. That’s negligent use of a firearm,” Baker told the magazine.

Indeed, jurors in Gutierrez-Reed’s trial saw footage of an impatient and arrogant Baldwin behaving with apparent recklessness with firearms on set.

Even in the days following the shooting, reports focused on Baldwin’s behavior.

Then, in March 2022, before prosecutors filed charges, Gutierrez-Reed also issued a statement critical of the veteran actor.

“Mr. Baldwin knew that he could never point a firearm at crew members under any circumstances and had a duty of safety to his fellow crew members,” the statement read. “Yet he did point the gun at Halyna before the fatal incident against all rules and common sense.”

For several years, Baldwin escaped charges. He claimed that before fatally shooting Hutchins he had pulled back the gun’s hammer but had never pulled the trigger, according to ABC.

However, according to ABC, a report by Forensic Science Services in Arizona, stated that “the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.”

In other words, forensic analysis of the weapon itself did not corroborate the actor’s claims.

“The prosecution believes he lied about what happened,” Baker said, according to People. “They are very much anxious to go after Alec Baldwin, and you saw that in this trial.”

For legal purposes, Baldwin’s fate appears to hinge on the question of whether he actually pulled the trigger. Assuming his case goes to trial as expected, a jury will decide his guilt or innocence of involuntary manslaughter.

Gutierrez-Reed, according to the jury in her case, bore responsibility for the weapon’s live round. And that jury decided that she must pay the price.

That does not mean, however, that Baldwin had license to behave recklessly.

If a jury decides he, too, bears responsibility for Hutchins’ death, he, too, will have to pay the price.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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