Friday’s sentence for “Rust” assistant director Dave Halls came after pleading guilty to negligent/unsafe handling a firearm which led to Halyna Hutchins, the film’s cinematographer being killed in the October 2021 shooting.
Halls entered a no-contest plea to the misdemeanor of the negligent use of a deadly weapon. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer accepted Halls’ plea. The prosecution asked for a suspended sentence. This is the equivalent of a conviction.
Lisa Torraco, Halls’ lawyer, argued that his sentence should have stayed. Torraco stated that Halls had no control over the safety of any individual on the set.
She explained that he was thinking of checking for blanks or dummy rounds in his head. He is traumatized like many others. Halls have “rattled” feelings of guilt, she said.
Torraco stressed that Halls arrived early at the courthouse and pleaded not guilty so everyone can continue to process what happened.
Sommer, however, was not convinced and sentenced him to a suspended sentence. Instead of serving jail time, the assistant director has been sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation.
Hall’s probation includes the following: a $500 fine; testimony at all trials and hearings; participation in a firearms safety class with proof within 60 days of his plea; no alcohol; 24 hours of community service; no contact with potential witnesses or codefendants.
Halls’ initial hearing was set for March 29,
The plea agreement was reached by Halls and the District Attorney on January 20.
Halls was among three people charged in connection with Hutchins’ death.
Both Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer, were charged with involuntary murder.
Baldwin was allegedly handed a.45 revolvers by Halls, who claimed that it was safe and cold. Gutierrez-Reed had spun the cylinder before that to show Halls what was inside the gun, as her lawyer had previously stated.
Baldwin maintained that he didn’t pull the trigger of his gun, once in a primetime interview immediately following the shootings and again in a podcast episode. Baldwin initially stated that he had pulled back the trigger of the gun as far as possible and released it. However, he did not pull the trigger.
Hall’s attorney claimed that Baldwin did not receive the gun from the assistant director, despite search warrants showing that he told police so.
Torraco stated shortly after the shooting that “this idea my client grabbed a gun and gave it to Baldwin didn’t happen.” Later, she dodged questions about whether Halls gave the gun to Baldwin. Martha McCallum asked if Halls knew if Baldwin had received the gun.
Hutchins’ murder was investigated for more than a year.
As Baldwin and GutierrezReed’s lawyers fight for fair trials, the prosecution has been plagued by issues.
Recently, Mary Carmack-Altwies, District Attorney, resigned as prosecutor following Jason Bowles’ argument that she couldn’t serve as co-counsel with a New Mexico special prosecutor.
Two new special prosecutors were appointed to the case in response: Jason Lewis and Kari Morrissey.
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Heather Brewer, spokesperson of First New Mexico Judicial District Attorney said that Lewis and Morris’ vast experience and trial expertise would allow the state to pursue justice Halyna Hutchins.
Andrea Reeb, New Mexico State Rep., was previously the Special Prosecutor before she resigned on March 14.
Baldwin’s lawyers filed a motion to argue that Reeb’s appointment was illegal and that she cannot serve simultaneously as a legislator and prosecutor under New Mexico law.
On May 3, Baldwin and Gutierrez–Reed will begin a preliminary hearing.