‘Negligent’ or ‘scapegoat’? Trial of Rust armourer opens in US

The trial of the armourer who loaded the gun that shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rust has begun in the US.

Armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

Ms Hutchins died in October 2021 after a gun that actor Alec Baldwin was holding went off on the set of the movie.

The trial, which opened on Wednesday with jury selection, is the first of the fatal shooting on a ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Image: Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Pic: SWEN STUDIOS/Handout via REUTERS.

In their opening statement, prosecutors described Gutierrez-Reed as negligent in handling guns and ammunition.

Special prosecutor Jason Lewis told the jury there were two key questions in the case.

“The first being, what are the events that happened on the set of Rust that led to the death of Halyna Hutchins?

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“And the second question is, how did live ammunition end up on the set of the movie?

“As to both questions, we believe that it was the negligent acts and failures of the defendant, Ms Gutierrez, that resulted in both the acts that contributed to Ms Hutchins’s death and to the live rounds being brought on to the set.”

Alec Baldwin is told of death of Halyna Hutchins
Image: Alec Baldwin is told of death of Halyna Hutchins

Gutierrez-Reed maintains she is not directly to blame for Ms Hutchins’s death.

Her defence lawyer Jason Bowles said his client was being used as a “scapegoat”.

He said: “We’re here because of a tragedy, there’s no doubt, there was a tragic occurrence on that movie.

“But let me tell you something you already know: just because there was a tragedy, it does not mean that a crime was committed.”

In a separate case, Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

He has denied pulling the trigger and said he was not responsible for the death of Ms Hutchins.

The movie’s director, Joel Souza, was struck and wounded in the shoulder by the same bullet that killed Ms Hutchins.

Source : Sky News