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Judge passes first sentence in deadly ‘Rust’ shooting

The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin a gun loaded with live rounds has received six months of unsupervised probation

A court has sentenced filmmaker David Halls to six months of unsupervised probation for negligent use of a deadly weapon on a movie set in New Mexico, which led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021. Halls, who was the assistant director on the western ‘Rust’, handed a Colt .45 revolver to Hollywood A-lister Alec Baldwin, who then fired a live round, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. 

Appearing at a virtual hearing on Friday, Halls pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge. According to previously released court documents, Halls admitted failing to sufficiently check the gun before passing it to Baldwin. Prosecution argued that it was his responsibility as the on-set safety coordinator to make sure the weapon was not loaded with live ammunition.

Lisa Torraco, Halls’ attorney, said the filmmaker could not “control how other people handle firearms,” but agreed to plead no contest to “make things easier for the family.”  

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Alec Baldwin enters plea in ‘Rust’ shooting

“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,” Torraco added.

Apart from probation, Halls was also ordered to pay a $500 fine, perform 24 hours of community service, and complete a gun-safety course within two months. 

In January, Baldwin and the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, were charged with involuntary manslaughter over Hutchins’ death. Baldwin pleaded not guilty, and Gutierrez-Reed’s legal team said last month she would do the same. 

Baldwin has argued that he was assured the pistol had been loaded with dummy rounds and has denied pulling the trigger.

April 01, 2023 at 08:18PM

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