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Former ‘Rust’ First Asst. Director Tied To Death Of Cinematographer Gets 6 Months Probation

Santa Fe, NM – One of three defendants charged in connection with the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” in 2021 has been sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation.

David Halls, the film’s former first assistant director, jumped on the chance to enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors on a misdemeanor negligent use of a deadly weapon charge shortly after the charge was initially filed in February.

The film’s lead star, Alec Baldwin, and former “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed both face two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the case.

Halls, who handed Baldwin the Colt .45 revolver moments before Baldwin shot Halyna Hutchins while practicing a cross-draw, pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge on March 31, ABC News reported.

Lisa Turaco, the attorney representing 63-year-old Halls, urged the court to defer imposition of sentence.

“He, like many others, is extremely traumatized and just rattled with guilt and so many other feelings of, what could I have done better? How could I have changed things?” Torraco said during the hearing. “Mr. Halls is in a lot of pain and a lot of trauma. He was three feet from Ms. Hutchins when the firearm went off. No one expected this.”

Prosecutor Kari Morrissey told the court Halls’ sentence should be suspended, ABC News reported.

Morrissey pointed out the first assistant director was also safety coordinator on the set, and that he was responsible for ensuring the gun Baldwin used for the scene did not contain any live rounds.

“Obviously this was a very serious incident,” the prosecutor told Judge Mary Marlowe Sommers. “A young woman lost her life.”

Sommers ultimately sided with Morrissey, noting she was “not persuaded that a deferred sentence” would be “appropriate” in Halls’ case, ABC News reported.

The judge imposed a sentence of six months unsupervised probation, plus 24 hours of community safety and a $500 fine.

Halls must also take a fire safety course within the next 60 days, cannot have any contact with any witnesses or co-defendants, and must testify in all other cases involving the fatal shooting, ABC News reported.

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed have both been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal on-shooting death of the cinematographer.

They face up to 18 months in prison if they are convicted.

Prosecutors dropped the gun enhancement charges against the pair in February, which carried a potential prison sentence of five years.

Baldwin, who fatally shot Hutchins on the set of the film on Oct. 21, 2021, has denied responsibility for her death.

He insisted during an interview with ABC News in late 2021 that he “didn’t pull the trigger” of the “prop” gun he was holding when it discharged and fatally shot the 42-year-old cinematographer.

The 64-year-old actor said he has “no idea” how the fatal incident occurred.

But according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) forensic report, the .45 Colt caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver Baldwin was holding at the time of the fatal shooting could not have fired without someone pulling the trigger, ABC News reported.

The film’s producer, Joel Souza, was also wounded by the bullet that killed Hutchins.

“Rust” is due to resume filming this spring at the Yellowstone Filming Ranch in Montana with Baldwin as the lead actor, FOX News reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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