A New Mexico grand jury has indicted Actor Alec Baldwin over involuntary manslaughter after the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust. The fatal incident occurred in 2021 during a rehearsal in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Baldwin, the lead actor of the movie, accidentally shot off a gun when performing a cross-draw, killing Hutchins and striking director Joel Souza. The grand jury decided to indict Baldwin on Jan. 19, 2024.
A one-page formal charge states that Baldwin allegedly caused Hutchins’ death due to either negligence or a total disregard for safety. Prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis presented evidence believing that he had “criminal culpability.” It led to Baldwin getting charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, with one of two alternative standards. One is by negligent use of a firearm and the other would be without due caution or circumspection. Both are considered felonies of the fourth degree.
Baldwin’s defense attorneys claim they will fight against the charge. Baldwin can enter a formal plea, with or without a court arraignment. A trial date has not been set. If convicted, Baldwin could face a sentence of up to 18 months in jail.
Baldwin claims he pulled back the hammer of the gun, not the trigger. Michael Haag from the Forensic Science Services in Arizona testified to the jury this week, saying that “the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.”
The gun was a Colt .45 revolver. First assistant director David Halls was the one who handed the revolver to Baldwin before the shooting. Hall took a plea deal and was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation in March 2023. He was charged with a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armorer, pleaded not guilty after also being charged with involuntary manslaughter. Her trial will begin on Feb. 21, 2024.
The involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin were rebooted after being dismissed last year in August. State District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer denied the motion, stating that jurisdictional issues were cured following amended criminal information filed by prosecutors.
“I feel that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” Baldwin said during an interview with ABC News in December 2021. A trial date has not been set. If convicted, Baldwin could face a sentence of up to 18 months in jail.
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