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Hannah Gutierrez appeals manslaughter conviction in ‘Rust’ shooting

todayMay 14, 2024

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Luis Sánchez Saturno-Pool/Getty Images

(SANTA FE, N.M.) — Hannah Gutierrez has appealed her conviction of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Alec Baldwin film “Rust.”

Gutierrez, the film’s armorer, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, the maximum, in connection with the October 2021 shooting.

The Santa Fe, New Mexico, County jury deliberated for under three hours on March 6 before reaching a split verdict. They found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter but acquitted her of tampering with evidence in the case.

Prosecutors told jurors that Gutierrez “repeatedly” failed to maintain proper firearm safety and that her negligence led to the death of Hutchins, who was shot by Baldwin, while the defense countered that the 26-year-old was a “convenient scapegoat” during closing arguments in the trial.

Baldwin was practicing a cross-draw in a church on the set of the Western film on Oct. 21, 2021, when the Colt .45 revolver fired a live round, striking Hutchins and director Joel Souza. Souza was injured in the incident, but survived.

Souza spoke about Hutchins during Gutierrez’s sentencing in April.

“She was a touchstone for all who knew her. And those of us who were lucky enough to have shared in her fleeting time on this planet are better for it,” he said.

Many of Hutchins’ friends and family members spoke during the lengthy sentencing hearing, either in person or via video.

Hutchins’ close friend and film school classmate, Emilia Mendieta, told the judge, “Someone didn’t do their job right — a lot of someones.”

“Why was a live bullet on set?” Mendieta said. “It was her job to check the guns, check the bullets and make sure that the set was safe.”

Defense attorney Jason Bowles had said in his closing arguments that the New Mexico Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s investigation into the shooting found that the management “demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety” and was responsible for the safety on the set, saying there was a rush to judgment and Gutierrez was a “convenient fall person.”

ABC News’ Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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