What to know about the ‘Rust’ shooting case as attention turns to Alec Baldwin’s trial

SANTA FE, N.M. — Now that jurors in New Mexico have convicted a movie weapons supervisor of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cameraman by Alec Baldwin on the set of the Western film “Rust,” attention will turn to the trial of the actor himself.

Baldwin, the film’s lead actor and co-producer, was pointing a gun at Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal for a film set outside Santa Fe in October 2021 when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza. Baldwin has said he pulled back the hammer — but not the trigger — and the gun fired.

Baldwin pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter before his trial in July.

The film’s supervisor, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, faces up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine after her conviction Wednesday on the same charge. No sentencing date has been set. She was acquitted of falsifying evidence.

Here are some things you need to know as the case against Baldwin approaches:

Hutchins, who was 42 when she died, grew up on a remote Soviet military base and worked on documentaries in Eastern Europe before studying film in Los Angeles and embarking on a promising film career.

She described herself in social media posts as a “restless dreamer” and “adrenaline junkie.” Before “Rust,” her credits include the crime drama “Blindfire,” the horror film “Darlin” and the 2020 thriller “Archenemy.”

Friends and family said she was loved and had a magnetizing personality.

Hutchin’s parents and sister responded to Gutierrez-Reed’s sentencing by saying they always wanted to take responsibility for her death.

“We look forward to the justice system continuing to ensure that all others responsible for Halyna’s death face the legal consequences of their actions,” said a statement from their attorney, Gloria Allred.

Filming of “Rust” moved to Montana after Hutchins’ death under an agreement with her husband, Matthew Hutchins, that made him executive producer.

Prosecutors dismissed an earlier involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin after they were told the gun he was holding may have been modified before the shooting and malfunctioned.

A new analysis of the weapon opened the way for prosecutors to restart the case.

A grand jury indicted Baldwin on the same charge in January. The suit alleges that Baldwin caused Hutchins’ death — either through negligence or “total disregard or indifference” to safety.

If convicted, the charge carries a possible prison sentence of up to 18 months.

The indictment offers prosecutors two alternative standards for charging Baldwin. One of them would be based on the careless use of a firearm.

The more recent weapons analysis, conducted by Forensic Science Services in Arizona, casts doubt on Baldwin’s version of events. It concluded that “the trigger must be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.”

An FBI expert testified at Gutierrez-Reed’s trial that the revolver used by Baldwin was fully functional and had safety features when he arrived at an FBI laboratory. The expert said he had to hit the fully cocked gun with a hammer and break it so it could fire without pulling the trigger.

A second alternative for prosecutors is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Baldwin caused Hutchins’ death without due care or “caution,” also defined as “an act committed with total disregard or indifference to the safety of others.”

Baldwin’s attorneys say Hutchins’ death was a terrible tragedy, and prosecutors have been misled in their efforts to secure a conviction against him.

Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, told jurors in her trial that Gutierrez-Reed was used as a convenient scapegoat for “Rust” producers, including Baldwin. Bowles suggested Baldwin went off script when he pointed the gun at Hutchins.

Investigators have found no video recordings of the shooting.

Messages seeking comment from Baldwin’s spokesperson and an attorney were not immediately returned Wednesday.