Actor Alec Baldwin and prop manager Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter resulting from the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by a gunshot wound on the set of the western movie “Rust”. After an investigation that lasted more than a year (derived from the incident that occurred on October 21, 2021), the above was announced yesterday by the Santa Fe County (New Mexico) District Attorney’s office, Mary Carmack-Altwies.
During the event, director Joel Souza received a gunshot wound to the shoulder; In addition, the assistant director, Dave Halls, recognized as the person who put the weapon in Baldwin’s hands, has already signed an agreement with the prosecution and acknowledges his guilt regarding the “negligent use of a deadly weapon”, and will accept the sentence that is imposed
Equivalences and similarities
The district attorney based her decision on the fact that, had she complied with security provisions regarding the use of weapons on set, Halyna Hutchins “would be alive”; In this way, she clarified, there is “a criminal pattern and lack of respect for security on the ‘Rust’ film set. In New Mexico, there is no space for studies that do not respect the State’s commitment to the responsible use of weapons.”
According to the lawyer Arturo Lamadrid Macías, involuntary homicide finds its equivalence in our country “with manslaughter, where the result is not desired or imagined, however, it occurs (that is, that it results in the death of someone )”, he commented in an interview for THE REPORTER.
Thus, he refers to a similar case that occurred in Mexico at a Police Academy during a graduation; a simulation exercise with prop weapons was carried out but a “real” pistol that was brought in without the purpose of being used in the exercise was recklessly used. After the death of a cadet at the hands of a colleague who used the weapon without inspecting it, all those involved were prosecuted and it was determined that, since there is a regulation that determines the inspection process for all weapons, the events occurred because they were not follow that procedure”; there lies the essential and not whether or not there was a will to take the life of his partner.
For this reason, Lamadrid establishes, “there are rules or parameters to follow for care and security wherever weapons (blank or not) are used”, and in this way it is understood that the New Mexico prosecutor’s office will file charges; In this case, Baldwin and the person in charge of the props team “are charged with the same charge based on negligent conduct” regarding the care in the use of weapons (observable in the border state with Mexico), which led to the fatal outcome.
Currently, the lawyer details, as a product of procedural reforms on oral trials —which only began to be implemented in a material way as of 2017— “the processes in Mexico and the United States can be very comparable, with the possibility of alternative exits (agreements) and not go to trial”.
Pursuant to the foregoing, in accordance with New Mexico regulations, involuntary manslaughter is considered a crime that can receive a punishment of up to 18 months in jail and the payment of a fine of up to 5 thousand dollars. Said charge also includes a lesser accusation for the negligent use of a firearm, but ultimately the decision to combine charges will be made in accordance with the criminal provisions in the border state (and must occur before the end of this month).
After all, Baldwin’s lawyers have already spoken out against the prosecutor’s decision, calling it a “judicial error.” The preliminary hearings of the case will be held during the following two months so that, based on what the statements and conclusions presented to the judge show, the trial can advance.
With information from Agencies
Timeline of the Baldwin case
October 21, 2021: Cinematographer Hutchins was shot in the chest by Baldwin -causing her death-; while the film’s director, Joel Souza, was also injured when they were rehearsing a scene from the film “Rust” with the actor in Santa Fe County (New Mexico).
October 27, 2021: Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies Hold a Press Conference Making the First Detailed Public Statements from Investigators on the Case; and they assured that in one of the film sets they found 500 bullets between real ones, blanks and props, as well as more ammunition in the weapon that was fired.
February 15, 2022: The family of Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer who died during the filming of the film “Rust”, in New Mexico, United States, formally sued the actor Alec Baldwin for negligent homicide, as well as “others responsible for security on the set during the filming”.
October 5, 2022: Alec Baldwin settles with the family of Halyna Hutchins in a civil proceeding brought by a lawsuit brought by the Hutchins family. The amount the actor paid has not been disclosed. It was also announced that filming on the movie “Rust” would resume in January, with Matthew Hutchins, the victim’s widower, as executive producer.
January 19, 2023: Actor Alec Baldwin and prop manager Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are indicted on two counts of manslaughter, resulting from the October 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by gunshot.
fines and conclusions
The New Mexico Coroner’s Office determined that the shooting during the filming of the film “Rust” was an accident after conducting an autopsy and a review of the reports of the authorities. The New Mexico Office of Occupational Safety and Health imposed a maximum fine against Rust Movie Productions after finding serious safety lapses, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two unplanned salvo shots in the set before the fatal shooting. Rust Movie Productions continues to fight a $137,000 fine imposed by regulators who say on-set production managers failed to follow industry-standard protocols for firearms safety.
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