Alec Baldwin was charged Thursday with involuntary manslaughter in the on-set shooting death of cinematographer Halyn Hutchins Rust last year.
After a lengthy investigation, the New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney’s Office on Thursday announced the charges stemming from the October 2021 shooting. In addition to Baldwin, the film’s female lead, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will also be charged with involuntary manslaughter, while first assistant director David Halls was hit with a negligent discharge of a deadly weapon; Hall has already agreed to plead guilty to the charge.
“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alex Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” the First Judicial District of New Mexico said. Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwice said in a statement. “In my view, no one is above the law and everyone deserves justice.”
“If any of those three people — Alex Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls — had done their job, Halyn Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple,” added DA-appointed special prosecutor Andrea Reebs. “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal security breaches Rust movie set. There is no place in New Mexico for movie sets that do not take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.
According to the district attorney’s office, both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be “subsidiarily charged” in both murders, meaning a jury will decide not only whether they are guilty but also what counts as involuntary manslaughter. were guilty.” If convicted only of involuntary manslaughter, a fourth-degree felony, both face up to 18 months in prison. However, if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the course of a lawful act, which includes the “firearm enhancement” charge, the sentence there is a mandatory five-year prison sentence.
Charges will be formally laid later this month, at which time each defendant will receive a summons to appear at the first court hearing; the district attorney’s office indicated that the defendants were able to appear at the hearing practically.
Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured during a rehearsal on the set Rust on October 21, 2021. The incident occurred when Baldwin accidentally fired a stick gun that was loaded with a live round. Various government agencies, from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office to the FBI, have conducted numerous investigations into the incident.
The New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney’s Office also conducted its own investigation, and recent actions indicated it was preparing to file charges. Again on September 23 New Mexican reported that the state Board of Finance has awarded the DA’s office more than $317,000 (of a requested $635,000) to prosecute those connected to the shooting. Although District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwice declined to say who would face criminal charges at the time, the original funding request listed Baldwin as one of the “potential defendants.”
While these are the first criminal charges filed in connection with Hutchins’ death, the shooting has resulted in several civil lawsuits (as well as some fines). Most notably, Hutchins’ family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Baldwin, Rust producer Ryan Donnell Smith, novice armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Hall, props master Sarah Zachary, and “armorer mentor” Seth Kenney.
The Hutchins family’s lawsuit read in part, “Halyn Hutchins deserved to live, and the defendants had the right to prevent her death if only they had upheld their duty to protect the safety of everyone on the set, where there were firearms, instead of cutting corners. about safety procedures that put lives at risk by rushing to meet schedules and ignoring numerous complaints of safety violations. (Baldwin has denied responsibility for Hutchins’ death and requested that the wrongful-death case go to arbitration in a filing last March.)