Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File
SANTA FE, NM – A co-defendant in the case against actor Alec Baldwin in the deadly 2021 shooting of a movie set in New Mexico was convicted Friday of unsafe handling of a firearm and sentenced to six months of probation.
Safety coordinator and assistant director David Hall must also pay $500 in fines, complete gun safety and 24 hours of community service after being convicted in connection with the death of Halyn Hutchins on the set of the western movie “Rust.”
Under the plea agreement, the courts agreed to testify at any hearings or trials. That includes criminal charges against Baldwin and the film’s owner, Anna Gutierrez-Reed, who pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins’ death.
The courts briefly appeared to have their right to challenge the negligence charge, as state District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer approved the terms of the plea agreement with prosecutors.
Defense attorney Lisa Torraco urged the court not to impose a prison sentence – the maximum penalty possible for six months behind bars – noting the court was “deeply wounded and “repulsed” by the crime.
Hutchins died shortly after shooting on October 21, 2021, during rehearsals on the film’s street in the suburbs of Santa Fe. He killed her with one live shot and wounded the driver, Joel Souza.
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could face a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a fine.
Torraco said that Arcas had checked the orbs in the revolver before handing it to Balduino to see if they had been sent by Quirites or the packages with the explosive. He said it was “never in anyone’s imagination” that he was carrying a gun.
“When Ms. Gutierrez-Reed brought the firearm … into the church setting, she checked the firearm,” Hallis said. “He didn’t even think he was going around with that gun.” And he, like many others, was extremely wounded.”
But prosecutor Kari Morrissey said Hall, a film veteran of more than 30 years, failed in his duty as the last line of defense for gun safety, and that the fatal shooting occurred after two previous guns on set misfired.
“Mr. Halls did not test all the rounds in the gun to confirm that it was a fantastic round and not a live round,” he said. “Then he handed the gun to Mr. Baldwin and began to hand his cross to Mr. Baldwin. And as he drew the cross, he fired the gun. And clearly Mrs. Hutchins was struck by a bullet and killed. That is the scientific basis for Mr. Atrio, taking no controversy to the safe “Lethal handling of the weapon.”
In a separate regulatory filing, Office of Security officials asserted that Atria has a shared responsibility for identifying and correcting any hazardous conditions related to gun safety during film production.
Hall’s decision was made on the 30th anniversary of Brandon Lee’s death. The son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee was shot by a .44-type slug from a gun that was thought to have been fired blank while filming “The Crow.”
A preliminary hearing in May will determine whether the evidence against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed is sufficient to proceed to trial.
In his opinion, Judge Marlowe Sommer confirmed with Halls that he “will testify truthfully in all hearings, trials, anointings, any and all matters binding on the defendants and their co-heirs.” Prosecutors can reopen the case if Castle violates the terms of the plea agreement.
The Santa Fe district attorney appointed two special prosecutors this week, Morrissey and Jason Lewis.
Original special prosecutor Andrew Reeb resigned following the filing of the initial charges against Baldwin and objections that his role as a state legislator had created different responsibilities.