ALEC Baldwin “failed to do his job” and should expect significant jail time for his role in the shooting death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a veteran prop master says.
Bill Davis, a retired police officer who has worked on more than 300 movies and TV shows, told The U.S. Sun that Baldwin should “be afraid” after being hit with two counts of involuntary manslaughter last week.
Halyna Hutchins was killed on Oct. 21, 2021[/caption]
The aftermath of the fatal shooting is seen above[/caption]
“It looks bad for him and he seems afraid – and so he should be,” said Davis, a prop master of more than 30 years.
“From day one, when this happened I said this is involuntary manslaughter, so I wasn’t at all surprised to see him finally charged.”
The 64-year-old actor was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter by prosecutors in New Mexico on Thursday.
The decision came close to 16 months since Baldwin killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza when a loaded prop gun he was holding fired on the set of Rust during a rehearsal in Oct. 2021.
Baldwin has long maintained he did not pull the trigger of the weapon. He is one of three people accused by prosecutors of playing a role in Hutchins’ death.
Also charged alongside the 30 Rock star was Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was the head armorer for the since-halted Netflix Western. She is facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Assistant director David Halls has already pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in a deal with prosecutors.
It was Halls who had handed Baldwin the gun in the final moments of Hutchins’ life, declaring it “cold” – or unloaded – before the fateful shot was fired, court documents show.
In the opinion of Davis, Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed, and Halls are all equally as culpable for Hutchins’ death as each failed to uphold basic safety practices.
“The whole show and everyone in charge of it is a disgrace,” said Davis. before claiming: “[Gutierrez-Reed] is the one who’s going to be in serious trouble because she failed to do her job. The first AD failed to do his job and Alec Baldwin failed to do his.
“Clearly nobody inspected the weapon [properly], so they’re all guilty.
“You can never take anybody’s word on [whether the gun is cold or not]. You always physically examine it yourself, or in other words, ‘show me the gun, let me see the chamber, let me make sure it’s all clear,’ but [it appears] nobody did that – and that’s a big no-no.”
In the state of New Mexico, involuntary manslaughter is a Class D felony, carrying a maximum sentence of up to 18 months in jail.
The charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed also include a provision that could result in a mandatory five years in jail because the offense was committed with a gun.
Baldwin has long claimed that he never pulled the trigger of the Colt. 45 revolver he was practicing with in the moments preceding Hutchins’ death.
In a legal filing against Gutierrez-Reed and other members of the crew last year, Baldwin claimed he pulled back the hammer of the revolver, but not far enough to physically cock the gun.
Then, when Baldwin let the hammer go, he claims the gun fired, striking Hutchins in the chest and wounding Souza.
Davis’ previously called the actor’s claims “bulls**t” to The U.S. Sun, insisting the revolver used by Baldwin could never fire unless the trigger was physically pulled.
His assessment was later backed by a forensic report conducted by the FBI last August, which drew the same conclusion.
Additionally, the report noted that 150 live rounds of ammunition were found on the set and live ammunition had been loaded into the gun instead of dummy rounds.
Baldwin is pictured hours before the shooting on Oct. 21, 2021[/caption]
Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 24, loaded the gun that Baldwin fired, killing cinematographer Hutchins[/caption]
Director Josh Souza was shot in the shoulder and was temporarily hospitalized[/caption]
Sources who were on set at the time also claimed Baldwin’s prop gun had been used for live ammunition target practice – or “plinking” – on the morning of the fatal shooting.
Davis says the inexperienced Gutierrez-Reed committed a cardinal sin by allowing live ammo anywhere near the set – let alone allegedly allowing the guns to be used recreationally.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Gutierrez-Reed denied keeping live ammunition on the set in an interview with authorities, a statement the Santa Fe County Sheriff later said was “not accurate.”
In a statement issued through her attorney at the time, the armor said safety had always been her “number one priority on set.”
“Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from,” the statement from her attorneys said.
Davis, meanwhile, cited Gutierrez-Reed’s inexperience as blame for the fatal mishap.
Prior to working on Rust, she had only worked on a handful of productions, including the Nicholas Cage film, The Old Way.
Production on the set of that movie was temporarily halted after Gutierrez-Reed allegedly handed a gun to an 11-year-old actress without properly checking for safety, The Daily Beast reported.
“She had no experience to fall back on so she was a babe in the woods,” said Davis.
“She took a job she was not qualified to take. So at this point, if I were her, I’d be s**tting a football right now. And she should be scared as they’re gonna try and scare her.
“If it were me – but I’d never put myself in that situation – I’d expect them to come after me with both barrels because I have 30 years of experience doing this and I should have known better.
“But with her, they might say she didn’t really know better […] they apparently had crew members leaving the set because it was unsafe.
“The picture isn’t looking good for her.”
Another person with equal cause for alarm is Baldwin, Davis says.
While he doesn’t believe Baldwin will receive the maximum sentence of five years, he does think the Academy Award nominee is facing a serious prospect of jail time.
“He didn’t commit murder but he did take a life that was caused by stupidity and neglect, and he’s going to have to pay a price for that,” said Davis.
“I think he’ll get two and a half years behind bars with credit for time served, and he’ll be out in about 18 months.
“And that would satisfy me because he’d come out a broken man.”
Where Gutierrez-Reed is concerned, Davis believes while a lack of experience may have meant she didn’t know any better, “the stupid shall still be punished.”
“They don’t want her, they want Baldwin. He’s the face of the show and he’s also a producer, which means he’s legally and financially responsible.
“But if it was one of my relatives who died, and they’ve put some limp noodle in charge of deadly weapons […] I’d want to see her get some serious jail time too,
“I can see her getting three years in jail for this.”
‘FAST AND LOOSE’ SET
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will both be charged “in the alternative.”
That means a jury will decide which, if any, of the two charges — involuntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act — they are or are not guilty of.
After announcing the charges last week, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies outlined why the on-set shooting of Hutchins could amount to criminal charges, regardless of whether or not it was an accident.
“Just because it is an accident doesn’t mean that it’s not criminal,” Carmack-Altwies told CNN.
“Our involuntary manslaughter statute covers unintentional killings, unintentional homicides.
“Unintentional means they didn’t mean to do it, they didn’t have the intent to kill, but it happened anyway — and it happened because of more than mere negligence, because they didn’t exercise due caution or circumspection, and that’s what happened here.”
It looks bad for him and he seems afraid – and so he should be.
Explaining the probable cause against the pair, the prosecutor alleged that the set of Rust was “fast and loose” and lacking even basic safety standards.
Carmack-Altwies explained: “[There was] a lack of safety and safety standards on that set, that there were live rounds on set; they were mixed in with regular dummy rounds.
“Nobody was checking those, or at least they weren’t checking them consistently. And then, they somehow got loaded into a gun, handed off to Alec Baldwin; he didn’t check it, he didn’t do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he was safe or that anyone around him was safe. And then, he pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins and he pulled the trigger.
“This was a really fast and loose set,” she added. “and … nobody was doing their job. There were three people, that if they had done their job that day, this tragedy wouldn’t have happened — and that’s David Halls and Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and Alec Baldwin.
“If they had just done their basic duties, we wouldn’t be standing here.”
Baldwin was a producer for Rust, in addition to starring as the production’s lead.
He settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Hutchins’ estate in October last year for an undisclosed fee.
After reaching the agreement, Hutchins’ husband Matthew released a statement insisting he had “no interest engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame” and called the death of his wife a “terrible accident.”
‘DISTORTING HALYNA’S LEGACY’
Baldwin has long maintained his innocence.
His attorney, Luke Nikas, released a statement on Thursday that accused prosecutors of distorting Hutchins’ death.
“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’s tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set,” said Nikas.
“He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
A lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed, meanwhile, called the charges “absolutely wrong.”
“We were expecting the charges but they’re absolutely wrong as to Hannah – we expect that she will be found not guilty by a jury and she did not commit manslaughter,” attorney Jason Bowles wrote in a statement.
“She has been emotional about the tragedy but has committed no crime.”
Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney called the charges against her “absolutely wrong”[/caption]
Baldwin is pictured in tears outside a police station in the aftermath of the shooting[/caption]