Lawyers seek new trial, release for Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
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The long, upsetting saga of 26-year-old Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed may be getting another chapter. After 10 frustrating days of back-and-forth testimony in court, Gutierrez-Reed was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter earlier this month. After two hours of deliberation, the New Mexico jury determined the armorer’s “willful disregard” for safety procedures on set was what led to the 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was struck by a live bullet discharged from Alec Baldwin’s gun. Gutierrez-Reed is currently being held in a Santa Fe detention facility while she awaits her April 15 sentencing. She faces up to 18 months in prison.

Now, however, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys believe that her conviction will “almost certainly” be overturned, and they have requested that she be granted a new trial and be released from jail while the appeal is considered (per Variety). This new-found hope for Gutierrez-Reed rests on the fact that the jury was asked to consider whether the armorer had loaded Baldwin’s gun with live ammunition “and/or” that she failed to properly check the ammunition. Her lawyers, Jason Bowles and Monnica Barreras, are contending the phrase “and/or” allowed a conviction to be passed down even if the jury wasn’t unanimous on either act.

The strength of Bowles and Barreras’ appeal lies in a recent New Mexico Supreme Court verdict. They overturned the conviction of two daycare workers for child endangerment on similar grounds this past Thursday, after finding that the term “and/or” created “confusion and misdirection” for the jury, who were asked to judge four separate acts.

Separately, Baldwin’s lawyers are also seeking to get his upcoming manslaughter case thrown out of court by accusing prosecutors of “violating nearly every rule in the book.” If it does go forward, Baldwin’s trial is currently scheduled to begin in July.