‘Rust’ Manslaughter Trial Set for Dec. 6, as Armorer Pleads Not Guilty

A New Mexico judge has scheduled the manslaughter trial in the “Rust” shooting to begin on Dec. 6.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 26, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence in connection with the accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. She faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

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Gutierrez Reed submitted a not guilty plea in writing on Wednesday, waiving her right to appear for a formal arraignment. She had previously waived her right to a preliminary hearing on the charges.

Gutierrez Reed was the armorer on “Rust,” the low-budget Western starring Alec Baldwin. She loaded the Colt .45 revolver that Baldwin was holding when it fired, killing Hutchins and wounding the film’s director.

Prosecutors have alleged that she failed to properly check that all of the rounds were dummies, which would resemble real bullets but not contain a projectile.

The prosecution has also claimed that Gutierrez Reed may have been hung over at the time, though the defense has adamantly denied that her judgment was impaired. Gutierrez Reed is charged with handing off a bag of cocaine to someone else after being questioned about the shooting. The prosecution alleges she did so in order to impede the investigation and hide damaging evidence.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer scheduled the trial to run from Dec. 6-15. Jury selection will take place on Dec. 5.

Baldwin was initially charged with involuntary manslaughter as well, but those charges were dropped after doubts were raised about whether the gun was working properly at the time of the shooting.

The special prosecutors on the case, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis, have sent the revolver for additional testing and have suggested that charges will be refiled if it turns out that the gun was functioning normally.

The case has encountered a series of blunders since charges were announced in late January. In June, the former D.A. investigator, Robert Shilling, sent an email to prosecutors calling the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s handling of the case “reprehensible and unprofessional to a degree I still have no words for.”

Shilling accidentally copied Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer on the email.

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