A former weapons supervisor on the set of the movie “Rust” will not have to undergo a drug test as she faces felony charges of tampering with evidence and involuntary manslaughter in the on-set shooting death of actor Alec Baldwin’s cinematographer.
A New Mexico district court judge on Wednesday denied a request by prosecutors to test Hannah Gutierrez-Reid for illegal drugs, calling it “an ambush” against her defense attorneys.
Prosecutors say Gutierrez-Red transferred the drugs to another person to avoid legal consequences immediately after the fatal shooting in October 2021, while court documents claim the armorer was hungover the day a live bullet was placed in Baldwin’s gun.
Defense attorney Jason Bowles said the allegations of drug use are unsubstantiated and undocumented.
It remains unclear how several live rounds of ammunition ended up on the set. Prosecutors say they have some evidence to support the theory that Gutierrez may have been responsible for introducing the red rounds.
Alec Baldwin was seen holding a gun on the ‘Rusty’ set after the criminal charges were dropped
Wednesday’s hearing, held online, was the first for a recently filed felony charge against Gutierrez-Reid for tampering with evidence in the shooting, which killed cinematographer Halina Hutchence and injured director Joel Souza.
State District Court Judge Mary Marlow Sommer advised Gutierrez-Reid of his legal rights on the tampering with evidence charge, which carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison. Gutierrez-Reid did not enter a plea.
A charge of involuntary manslaughter against Baldwin was dismissed in April. The actor was pointing a gun at Hitchens when she walked away, killing him. Baldwin has said the gun accidentally fired when he followed instructions to aim at Hutchins, who was behind the camera.
Hearings could be as early as August to determine whether the case against Gutierrez-Reid moves to trial.
Additionally, Gutierrez-Reed still has access to guns as a self-defense measure against threats — a concern prosecutors raised during Wednesday’s online court hearing.
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“We have a person who is a substance abuser who has a firearm,” said Special Prosecutor Kerry Morrissey.
Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys say prosecutors are resorting to “character assassination” to support their involuntary manslaughter case.
Filming on “Rusty” resumed in Montana in April under a deal with the cinematographer’s widow, Matthew Hutchins, as an executive producer. Souza says he returned to direct “Rust” to honor the legacy of Helena Hitchens.