Alec Baldwin, charged with manslaughter in the shooting on the set of Rust

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Actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with manslaughter for accidentally shooting a cinematographer on the set of the western Rusta prosecutor said on Thursday (January 19).

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The film’s weapons officer, responsible for the revolver that fired the shot that killed 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins, will also be charged, New Mexico Chief District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced.

Baldwin fired the shot that killed Hutchins while preparing to shoot a scene in the church building of Bonanza Creek Ranch, New Mexico (USA). Weapons officer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, loaded the weapon.

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Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed face two counts of manslaughter, each charged a maximum penalty of 18 months’ imprisonment. They will also be charged with an enhancement for the use of a firearm involving a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

The prosecutor also announced that David Halls, first assistant director on the film, He agreed to plead guilty to one charge of “negligent use of a deadly weapon”. Halls delivered the loaded .45 Colt to Baldwin. According to the plea agreement, Halls will receive six months of probationbut he will not serve time in prison.

“If any of these three people, Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez Reed or David Halls, had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today,” said Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by Carmack-Altwies to oversee the case.

“It’s as simple as that. The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the film set by Rust. There is no room in New Mexico for movie studios that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”

Baldwin had declared that Halls told him the gun was “cold”, which means it only contained fake cartridges. But investigators discovered the gun was loaded a live bullet, which passed through Hutchins’ torso and lodged in director Joel Souza’s shoulder.

Hutchins was airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital, where she was pronounced dead the same day.

Brian Panish, the attorney for Hutchins’ widower and son, released a statement Thursday on behalf of the family expressing support for the allegations.

“We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and District Attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that the wrongful death charges are justified in the murder of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life,” Panish said.

“Our independent investigation also argues that the allegations are justified. It’s a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the allegations, will fully cooperate with this judicial process, and fervently hope that the justice system works to protect the public and hold those who break the law accountable.”

Baldwin has expressed on more than one occasion that he is not to blame for the crash. His attorneys said Halls, Gutierrez Reed and two others were guilty of a series of missteps that led to the shooting.

Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, said in a statement Thursday that the decision “distorts the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins and represents a terrible mistrial.”

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun, or anywhere on the film set,” Nikas said. “He trusted the professionals he worked with, who assured him the gun did not have live ammunition. We will fight these allegations and we will win.”

Baldwin testified that he did not pull the trigger and that the pistol fired when he released the firing pin. However, an FBI forensic analysis determined that the weapon functioned normally.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office turned the investigation over to the prosecutor’s office in October, more than a year after the shooting. Carmack-Altwies filed a request last year for $635,500 in state funds to pay for up to four felony sentences. He was awarded half of that amount.

The prosecutor’s office chose not to press charges against Sarah Zachry, the props director who worked closely with Gutierrez Reed, or Seth Kenney, the weapons supplier. Both have been named as defendants in various civil cases.

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office said that manslaughter charges will be filed against Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed before the end of the month. Both defendants will then make a “first appearance” in court, which can be done virtually.

The next step would be a preliminary hearing, where prosecutors must present enough evidence to show that the case deserves a trial. Court dates have not yet been set.

Hutchins’ death has sparked a larger conversation about on-set safety, even though no new laws have been passed to tighten regulations thus far.

Much of the investigation focused on Gutierrez Reed, the 24-year-old gunsmith. Gutiérrez Reed was working as a gunsmith for the second time and his time was divided between that job and duties in the stage area.

Baldwin and the film’s producers announced a civil settlement on Oct. 5 with Halyna Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins.

Source: Clarin

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