Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will be allowed to have a gun at home, a New Mexico judge ruled today.
In the first hearing for the criminal case over the October 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Judge Mary Marlow Sommer decided that 25-year-old Reed can have “a firearm at her resistance” as a one of the conditions of her release in the case.
The ruling came Friday in the virtual hearing as Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles detailed threats his client had received after private information on her was released by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s office soon after the tragedy on the Rust set. Citing a stalker, and Reed having to get a restraining order at one point, Bowles said his client wanted a gun at home for “self-protection.”
After objecting to the request and citing “Hannah’s sloppy mishandling of firearms” that led in part to Hutchins’ death, D.A. Mary Carmack-Altwies offered Reed get some “pepper spray or a bat” as an alternative form of protection.
Basically ignoring the suggestions, Judge Sommer granted the request for a gun but made a point of noting it was only for inside Reed’s residence.
Reed did not enter a plea today.
Additionally, due to the fact that the armorer is not working on the resurrected version of the indie Western, the judge also ordered that Reed have no contact with other potential witnesses in the case, such as former Rust crew members.
With star-producer Alec Baldwin back and widower Matthew Hutchins as an executive producer, Rust is supposed to start up again this spring in Montana.
Baldwin was not a participant in today’s relatively short virtual hearing. On February 23, the multi-Emmy winner jumped the process by entering a plea of not guilty and waived his right to appear today. Because of his participation in the soon-to-restart Rust, Baldwin is allowed to communicate with some people who are on the D.A.’s witness list, like director Souza – but only in the course of business related to the film.
In that context, Friday’s hearing comes as Rust Movie Production’s appeal of the April 2022 fines and citations of the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau came to a close. Under a settlement with the producers, OSHA reduced its maximum fine of $136,793 to $100,000 and altered a “Willful-Serious citation” of conditions on the Rust set to “Serious.”
Following the release of an FBI-assisted investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office was released late last year, Alec Baldwin and armorer Reed were formally charged by D.A. Mary Carmack-Altwies with two counts of involuntary manslaughter on January 31 over the October 21, 2021, death of Hutchins at Bonanza Creek Ranch. Rust director Joel Souza was wounded in that shooting.
RELATED: Alec Baldwin Derides Prosecution In ‘Rust’ Fatal Shooting Criminal Case After Successfully Having Charges Downgraded
Initially those charges included an enhancement that came with a mandatory five-year prison stint if the defendants were found guilty. Under protest and claims from lawyers for both Baldwin and Reed that the charge was “unconstitutional,” the D.A. removed the charge on February 20. Now, after such a big win, Baldwin and Reed are looking at felony charges with sentencing of only up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine at most.
Baldwin has long insisted that he did not pull the trigger on the 1880s prop gun that killed Hutchins and injured Souza. While FBI disagree in their analysis of what occurred on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set, as of yet no one has been able to identify how live ammo got on the set of the $7 million budgeted Rust.
With the exception of a March 8 plea conference for First Assistant Director David Halls, no further hearing dates have been set in the Rust case yet. The crew member to hand Baldwin the self-declared “cold gun” that shot Hutchins and Souza, the now retired Halls made a as-yet-unreleased plea deal with prosecutors that will see him serve no jail time and appear as a witness for the D.A.
Besides that, from all indications at today’s hearing, because of the schedules of lawyers, prosecutors and defendants, it could be several months before anyone in the Baldwin and Reed criminal case is in front of Judge Sommer again.
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