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Hannah Gutierrez-Reed to Stay in Jail as Lawyers Appeal Verdict in "Rust" Shooting

Sat 30 Mar 2024 | 03:24 PM
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
Yara Sameh

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the Alec Baldwin movie “Rust,” will remain in jail as her lawyers appeal her conviction in the death of the film’s cinematographer.

A Santa Fe judge denied a defense request for release on Friday and refused to order a new trial in the case.

“Keep in mind there was a death that the jury determined was caused by her,” said Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer. “So I am not releasing her.”

Gutierrez-Reed is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15 and faces up to 18 months in prison.

The armorer was convicted on March 6 of involuntary manslaughter after a two-week trial. Prosecutors alleged that she inadvertently brought live bullets onto the set — a major breach of film safety protocols — and failed to properly check the rounds before loading one of them into Baldwin’s gun.

Baldwin is scheduled to face his involuntary manslaughter trial in July for pointing the gun at the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and, allegedly, pulling the trigger.

Gutierrez-Reed was taken into custody following the jury’s verdict. A week later, her lawyers filed an emergency motion for release, citing a new ruling from the New Mexico Supreme Court in another case, State v. Taylor. In that case, the court overturned a guilty verdict because the jury instructions were confusing.

The defense argued that the instructions in the Gutierrez-Reed case were similarly confusing and that the Taylor case made it nearly certain that her conviction would be overturned. Prosecutors pushed back, however, arguing that the two cases were dissimilar.

In the Taylor case, the jurors were asked to convict based on four separate acts joined by an “and/or” clause. The Supreme Court warned judges against using “and/or” in jury instructions, finding that it created a potential for confusion. In the Gutierrez-Reed case, however, only two acts were separated by the “and/or” clause.

Marlowe Sommer agreed with the prosecution that the cases are distinguishable.

“I am denying your motion,” she said. “I do not think that Taylor requires a new trial in this case.”

She said she would issue a written order on Monday. The court hearing was held remotely via Google Meet. Gutierrez-Reed appeared from the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility.

The defense is expected to file an appeal on numerous other grounds as well, including other alleged defects with the jury instructions, and the prosecution’s inadvertent sharing of attorney-client text messages with a key witness.