'Rust' armorer sentenced to 18 months in fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin

AFP

Hannah Gutierrez, the chief weapons handler for the Western movie "Rust," was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was shot when actor Alec Baldwin was handling a gun during the film's production in 2021.

In March, Gutierrez, 27, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for mistakenly loading a live round into a revolver Baldwin was using on a Santa Fe, New Mexico, movie set.

"You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon," Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer told Gutierrez as she handed down the sentence.

In video calls and the courtroom during the hearing, Hutchins' friends from the film industry paid tribute to her creativity and kindness. They also lambasted Gutierrez's breaches in firearms safety protocol.

"I struggle to deal with this repeatedly being called an accident, because it was not an accident, it was negligence," said Jen White, a film industry colleague.

The shooting, which stunned Hollywood, is believed to be the first time in modern times that a member of a film crew or cast was killed by a live round accidentally loaded into a gun.

Baldwin's trial is set for July 10 after a grand jury indicted him on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in January.

Gutierrez's lawyer Jason Bowles had requested she be given probation, but prosecutors argued for a full 18 months due to lack of contrition.

"I beg you please don't give me more time," Gutierrez told the court, adding that her "heart ached" for Hutchins' family "The jury has found me at fault for this tragedy but that doesn't make me a monster that makes me human."

In a video call from Kiev the Ukraine-born cinematographer's mother mourned her daughter's death and her young grandson Andros being left without a mother.

"It's the hardest thing to lose a child," said Olga Solovey, whose comments were translated into English in subtitles.

Prosecutor Kari Morrissey pointed to phone calls by Gutierrez from jail in which she said the jurors were "idiots," the judge had been "paid off," and she continued to blame Baldwin and others for the shooting.

Gutierrez had already spent a month in Santa Fe county jail following her conviction.

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