New Mexico Judge Rejects ‘Rust’ Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s Request To Dismiss Charges In Fatal On-Set Shooting

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Kate Hirzel Contributor
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A New Mexico judge denied the a Tuesday motion from “Rust” movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s defense counsel to dismiss charges against her.

The fatal on-set shooting that resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on October 21, 2021, will start evidentiary hearings next week, reported KOB4. The upcoming hearings will focus on involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering charges against Gutierrez-Reed, who is now the sole defendant after prosecutors dropped charges against actor Alec Baldwin, who was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Despite the defense’s arguments alleging that the case has been compromised to changes in the prosecution team, evidence mishandling, and prejudicial public statements, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer has ruled in favor of the prosecution and supported a preliminary hearing to assess the sufficiency of evidence for a trial, according to the outlet. (RELATED: New Witness In Fatal ‘Rust’ Shooting Claims Armorer Tampered With Evidence After Talking To Police: REPORT)

In April, prosecutors dropped charges against Alec Baldwin, who was holding the gun when it discharged, causing the fatal shooting and injury.

Prosecutors, however, are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting. An independent examination by a firearms expert is underway to determine how live ammunition ended up in the .45-caliber revolver that was used in the incident, and additional weapons testing has been commissioned to investigate whether the gun’s hammer may have been intentionally modified, reported KOB4. 

The FBI’s analysis revealed that the gun could fire without pulling the trigger if force was applied to an uncocked hammer, such as by dropping the weapon.

If convicted, Gutierrez-Reed faces up to three years in prison. The incident dealt a significant blow to the “Rust” film production, but it resumed in April in Montana with Halyna Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, now serving as an executive producer on the project.