SANTA FE, New Mexico — A co-defendant in the case against actor Alec Baldwin in the fatal 2021 shooting of a cinematographer on a film set in New Mexico was convicted Friday of unsafe handling of a firearm and sentenced to six months probation.

Security coordinator and assistant director David Halls must also pay a $500 fine, complete a gun safety course and 24 hours of community service after accepting a sentence related to the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the western ” rust”.

Under the plea agreement, Halls agreed to testify truthfully at any upcoming hearings or trials. That includes criminal proceedings against Baldwin and movie gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges in Hutchins’ death.

Halls appeared briefly via video to waive his right to challenge the negligence charge, when State District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer approved the terms of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Defense attorney Lisa Torraco urged the court not to impose a prison sentence (the maximum possible sentence was 6 months behind bars), noting that Halls was “extremely traumatized and “shocked” with guilt.

Hutchins died shortly after being shot on October 21, 2021, during rehearsals at a filming ranch outside of Santa Fe. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off; a single live round killed her and wounded director Joel Souza.

If convicted of manslaughter, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could face a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and fines.

Torraco said Halls had checked the rounds in the revolver before handing it over to Baldwin to see if they were dummies or blanks laced with an explosive. She said that it was “never in anyone’s imagination” that live bullets would be in the gun.

“When Ms. Gutierrez-Reed brought the firearm … onto the church set, she checked the firearm,” he said of Halls. “He wouldn’t have even thought there was a real bullet in it, in that gun. … And he, like many others, is extremely traumatized.”

But prosecutor Kari Morrissey said Halls, a veteran filmmaker of more than 30 years, failed in his duty as the last line of defense for gun safety, and the fatal shooting occurred after two guns misfired in the set.

“Mr. Halls failed to check each round that was in the gun to confirm that it was a dummy round and not a real round,” he said. “He then handed the gun to Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Baldwin began practicing his cross drawing. And during that cross-draw action, the gun went off. And obviously Ms. Hutchins was struck by the bullet and died. That is the factual basis for Mr. Halls to plead no contest for unsafe handling. of a deadly weapon.”

In separate regulatory proceedings, workplace safety authorities asserted that Halls shares responsibility for identifying and correcting any dangerous conditions related to firearms safety in the production of the film.

Halls’ sentencing took place on the 30th anniversary of Brandon Lee’s death. The son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee was struck by a .44-caliber round from a gun that was supposed to have fired a target while filming “The Crow.”

A week-long preliminary hearing in May will decide whether the evidence against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed is sufficient to proceed to trial.

In her sentencing, Judge Marlowe Sommer confirmed with Halls that he would “testify candidly in all hearings, trials or settings involving all defendants and co-defendants in this matter.” Prosecutors can reopen the case if Halls violates the terms of the plea agreement.

The Santa Fe district attorney this week appointed two special prosecutors, Morrissey and Jason Lewis.

The original special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, resigned after missteps in the initial filing of charges against Baldwin and objections that her role as a state legislator created conflicting responsibilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *