American actor and producer Alec Baldwin will reportedly face charges of involuntary manslaughter for the accidental killing of Halyna Hutchins during the filming of the movie Rust.
Hutchins, who was working as a cinematographer on the movie, was killed when she was struck by a live round from a prop gun.
Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the movie’s armorer, will also face charges for Hutchin’s death.
Alec Baldwin faces charges
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has decided to charge Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter on the basis that he acted negligently.
The movie’s armorer, Gutierrez Reed, whose responsibility was to manage prop firearms on the set, will also face the same charge.
“‘Rust’ actor and producer Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the film’s Santa Fe County set in 2021,” said Mary Carmack-Altwies, the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney, in a statement issued on Thursday morning.
During the forthcoming legal proceedings, Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed will be “charged in the alternative.” This means that a jury will decide whether they are innocent or guilty but also under which legal definition of involuntary manslaughter.
Generally, the maximum sentence is up to eighteen months in prison and a fifteen thousand dollar fine for involuntary manslaughter. However, because a firearm was involved, the sentence could be extended to a mandatory five years in jail.
Alec Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, has spoken on behalf of his client making it clear that he denies the charges.
“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice,” the attorney said. “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun—or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
An attorney working for Gutierrez Reed has released a statement decrying the charges as “absolutely wrong.”
The incident that led to the death of Hutchins and injured Director Joel Souza occurred during filming at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Baldwin discharged a Pietta .45 Colt revolver, which was being used as a prop.
An assistant director on the set of Rust told Baldwin that the gun he was using for the scene was a “cold gun,” or a firearm without a live round loaded into the chamber, according to a court document released in December 2021.
Hutchins, 42, was rushed from the set by a helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque but tragically died at the facility. Souza, 48, was transported by ambulance to the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe but survived his injuries.