Former “Rust” Armorer Receives Maximum Sentence

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will serve 18 months for involuntary manslaughter of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

First Judicial District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer on Monday morning gave former Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed the maximum sentence: 18 months in a New Mexico women’s correctional facility.

Jurors March 6 deliberated for fewer than three hours before finding Gutierrez-Reed guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but not of an additional evidence tampering charge, in the Oct. 21, 2021, shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The gun, which producer and star Alec Baldwin held, also injured director Joel Souza. Baldwin also faces an involuntary manslaughter charge, for which his attorneys made a motion to dismiss in March. No hearing has been scheduled, but if unsuccessful, Baldwin will head to trial in July.

In the sentencing hearing lasting just under two hours, state special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis recommended the maximum sentence with designation as a “serious violent offender,” something Morrissey said she pondered at great length before reviewing “close to 200″ jail phone calls in which she said Gutierrez-Reed failed to take any accountability and instead expressed anger toward the jury, the judge, the paramedics and the witnesses who testified.

“It was my sincere hope during this process that there would be some moment when Miss Gutierrez took responsibility [or] expressed some level of remorse that was genuine,” Morrissey said. “That moment has never come.”

Instead, the ”content and tone of [Gutierrez-Reed’s] calls” indicate she shouldn’t have any type of reduced sentence, Morrissey argued.

Several friends and members of Hutchins’ family spoke before the sentencing. Her mother Olga Solovey was among those to speak through a video presented by attorney Gloria Allred, who noted the family was unable to make it to the courtroom because they live in Ukraine, which is being “continually bombed.” Solovey told the judge that Hutchins’ death “ruined her life,” taking away from her their regular weekend phone calls and making it so her grandson would grow up without a mother.

“Halyna was the best daughter on this earth. After this tragedy, my life has been split in two. Time does not heal, it simply prolongs my pain and suffering,” Solovey said. “I hope that those that are responsible for the death of my daughter will be punished…Every minute I wait until I meet [Hutchins] again.”

Hutchins’ close friend Jen White also testified, telling the court through tears that “two years have passed, and I still look for her. I still expect to see her. I still wonder what adventures she’s on and think about checking in. Then my heart drops through my feet and I have to face the reality that I will never see her or hug her or hear her laugh ever again.”

White added she felt Hutchins has “gotten lost in the swarm of all the finger pointing and blame in the aftermath of this completely preventable tragedy. The only way I have left to honor her is to do everything I can to make sure this never happens again and to try to make sure that the people who are responsible are held accountable.”

After the statements and a slideshow of photos of Hutchins, defense attorney Jason Bowles asked Marlowe Sommer for a conditional discharge. He described the shooting as “a horrible tragedy for everybody, and that includes Miss Gutierrez,” noting the former armorer has shown remorse.

“She’s cried. She’s broken down,” Bowles said. “She said ‘if only’ many, many, many times, and it hasn’t come out until today because of the legal proceedings and system we have.”

In response to Morrissey’s comments about Gutierrez-Reed’s jail phone calls, he said “you could probably surveil 100 people after something like this happened and pick out something bad. None of us are what we are on our best day, nor on our worst day,” before pointing out rehabilitation is “another goal” of the court.

Gutierrez-Reed also gave a brief statement and asked the judge for probation through which she could contribute to society, saying her “heart aches for Hutchins’ family and friends” and that she prayed they found peace. She added she was “saddened by the way the media sensationalized our traumatic tragedy and portrayed me as a complete monster, which has actually been the total opposite of what’s been in my heart.”

“When I took on Rust, I was young and I was naive, but I took my job as seriously as I knew how to,” Gutierrez-Reed said, noting she didn’t have proper time, resources or staffing. “The jury has found me in part at fault for this god-awful tragedy, but that doesn’t make me a monster—that makes me human.”

Marlowe Sommer thanked the legal teams for their presentations and thanked friends and family for their statements. She noted three choices: a conditional discharge; to keep Gutierrez-Reed in the Santa Fe County Detention Center for 12 months and then have the remainder of her sentence be probation; or have her go to prison.

The judge repeated several quotes from the jail phone calls, including one in which Gutierrez-Reed said she didn’t check what she was loading because she didn’t need to be shaking dummies all the time, and another about how much of her life is taken up and how this could affect her modeling career.

“Hannah says that people have accidents and people die. It’s an unfortunate part of life, but it doesn’t mean she should be in jail,” Marlowe Sommer read. “A conditional discharge is not appropriate. And the second option of leaving you in the detention center would be giving you a pass you do not deserve.”

She added that she did not hear Gutierrez-Reed take accountability, saying “it was your attorney that had to tell the court you were remorseful.”

“I find that what you did constitutes a serious violent offense. It was committed in a physically violent manner: a fatal gunshot done with your recklessness in the face of knowledge that your acts were reasonably likely to result in serious harm,” Marlowe Sommer said. “You were the armorer, the one that stood between a safe weapon and a lethal weapon. You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you Miss Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

At the request of the judge, Gutierrez-Reed was taken away immediately after by deputies.

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