Hannah Gutierrez-Reed poses for mugshot after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 'Rust' shooting trial

‘Rust’ Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Claims Judge Made Several Errors Amid Appeal

Home / Exclusive Details / ‘Rust’ Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Claims Judge Made Several Errors Amid Appeal

By Kristin Myers on June 14, 2024 at 3:45 PM EDT
Updated on June 15, 2024 at 9:00 AM EDT

"Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is still trying to appeal her involuntary manslaughter conviction after a jury spent less than three hours finding her guilty earlier this year.

Her trial is separate from the one that Alec Baldwin will be facing in early July. Both Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and Alec Baldwin were charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of "Rust" cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who passed away during an on-set accident on October 21, 2021.

As her appeal continues, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is arguing that the judge made several errors when handling her "Rust" case.

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'Rust' Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Is Still Fighting To Appeal Her 18-Month Sentence

Armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed seen after fatal Rust shooting

Ever since Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer sentenced her to 18 months behind bars - the state maximum - former "Rust" armorer's lawyer Jason Bowles had been working on her appeal. On Wednesday, Bowles claimed that the Judge made six crucial errors in the case that warranted an appeal.

The 27-year-old rookie armorer is currently incarcerated at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Grants, New Mexico, but her legal team is trying to get her out of jail while her appeal is pending.

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In a filing to the state’s Court of Appeals on Wednesday, Jason Bowles cited issues with the jury instructions and the judge’s decision to allow “lay opinions” on Gutierrez Reed’s conduct as an armorer. According to court documents obtained by Variety, these concerns should be enough to warrant an appeal for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

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The Filing Comes Only One Day After Another Motion Is Denied

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed poses for mugshot after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 'Rust' shooting trial

On Tuesday, an amended motion was released, denying the Bowles law firm's motion to quash the Subpoena Dues Tectum, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.

On April 24, 2024, the State sent the Bowles law firm a Subpoena Dues Tectum requesting "All documentation regarding communications between any employee or contract employee or agent of the Bowles Law Firm and Alexander Rae Baldwin, any attorneys or other employees of the Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, & Sullivan Law Firm, any attorneys acting on behalf of Mr Baldwin, and any representatives of Mr. Baldwin or Mr. Baldwin's counsel."

"This documentation includes but is not limited to any notes, messages, e-mail, text messages, recordings, and any other forms of correspondence," the filing added.

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Who Was Aware That There Were Real Bullets In The 'Rust' Gun?

Alec Baldwin poses with gun and ammo in newly released Rust rehearsal video

During her trial, lead prosecutor Kari Morrissey argued that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had mistakenly put live ammunition into the "Rust" gun, which was later fired by Alec Baldwin on set when the crew was rehearsing a scene inside of a church in New Mexico.

During her appeal, her attorneys argued that an involuntary manslaughter charge requires “conscious disregard of a known risk” under appellate precedents. They argue that the jury instructions did not clarify this fact.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer used standard jury instructions for a manslaughter case, which state that the defendant “should have known” the risk of their actions, not that they did know.

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In court documents obtained by The Blast, lawyers representing Alec Baldwin are attempting a similar strategy to get the case dismissed entirely so the "30 Rock" actor never has to stand trial. Both Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have argued that they could not be aware of the risk because they did not know that the "Rust" gun contained live ammunition.

'Rust' Crew Members Testified Against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armourer on the set of Alec Baldwin movie Rust, where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot dead, appears in police bodycam footage taken shortly after the fatal shooting in October 2021. She can be seen talking to police and can be heard telling an officer: “I just f****d up my whole entire career.” Bodycam footage captured on the New Mexico set shows Gutierrez-Reed sitting in the back of a police car before being escorted to a toilet by a female officer. The footage begins with Gutierrez-Reed answering a different officer’s questions. Gutierrez-Reed - who was in charge of weapons and ammunition on the set - first confirmed her place of work before responding to a question about her job title. When asked by a cop: “What’s your place of employment?” she responded, “Here”. The officer then asked: “What’s your job?” to which Gutierrez-Reed replied, “I’m the armourer, or at least I was.” Shortly afterwards, a female cop approaches the car Gutierrez-Reed is sitting in, saying: “Hi, you need to use the restroom?” Gutierrez-Reed confirms that she does, and the pair start walking across the film’s set towards the toilets. Gutierrez-Reed can be heard saying: “Welcome to the worst day of my life”, before adding: “I can’t believe Alec Baldwin was holding the gun, that’s so f****d.” Once in the bathroom, Gutierrez-Reed states: “I just want to get the f**k out of here and never show my face in this industry again. “I'm the only female armourer in the game and I just f****d up my whole entire career." She later refers to herself as a "f*****g failure." Files related to the ongoing investigation were released by Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office earlier this week. 27 Apr 2022 Pictured: Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armourer on the set of movie Rust, seen in police bodycam footage. Photo credit: Santa Fe County Sheriff/MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGA851773_010.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]

During Hannah Gutierrez-Reed's trial, which ran from February to March, "Rust" crew members testified that she seemed unprofessional on set. Bowles objected to the witnesses testifying about her professional competence, noting that the crew members were not experts in gun handling. However, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer allowed the jury to hear their testimony.

In his appeal, Bowles argued that the opinions of "Rust crew members should never have been presented to the jury, because the job of a film armorer requires information outside the “common knowledge and experience of an average person.”

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Her attorneys also noted that the prosecution accidentally turned over attorney-client text messages to weapons supplier Seth Kenney, who served as a witness during the trial. They argue that this is also grounds for an appeal, even though the Judge denied a pre-trial motion to throw out the case based on that incident.

Will Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Testify During Alec Baldwin's Trial?

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According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Bowles plans to ask for an appeal based on the "and/or" conjunction, which he argues may have confused a jury and encouraged them to convict based on unclear instructions.

In late March, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer did not find the "and/or" conjunction issue to be significant and denied a motion for a new trial based on those grounds. Jason Bowles also says that the Judge excluded testimony from OSHA witnesses and their own gun expert, which they say was vital to their case.

They also found fault with the Judge for classifying involuntary manslaughter as a “serious violent offense,” which requires the former "Rust" armorer to serve at least 85% of her sentence before she is eligible for release.

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Although it is possible that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will be called as a witness in Alec Baldwin's criminal trial, she has invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination while her appeal pends.

Although prosecutors filed a motion to grant her immunity, so anything she says does not hurt her chance of appeal, Baldwin's legal team has requested that their motion for immunity be denied.

Alec Baldwin's "Rust" trial is scheduled to begin on July 9. He faces up to 18 months behind bars if convicted.

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