A New Mexico judge sentenced the Rust movie armourer Hannah Gutierrez to 18 months in prison on Monday (Apr 15) for the fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin in 2021.

In March, Gutierrez, 27, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for mistakenly loading a live round into a revolver Baldwin was using on a Santa Fe, New Mexico, movie set.

“You turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon,” Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer told Gutierrez as she handed down the sentence.

In video calls and the courtroom during the hearing, Hutchins’ friends from the film industry paid tribute to her creativity and kindness. They also lambasted Gutierrez’s breaches in firearms safety protocol.

“I struggle to deal with this repeatedly being called an accident because it was not an accident, it was negligence,” said Jen White, a film industry colleague.

The shooting, which stunned Hollywood, is believed to be the first time in modern times that a member of a film crew or cast was killed by a live round accidentally loaded into a gun.

The gun was being held by actor Alec Baldwin when it went off. His trial is set for Jul 10 after a grand jury also indicted him on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in January.

Gutierrez’s lawyer Jason Bowles had requested probation, but prosecutors argued for a full 18 months due to lack of contrition.

“I beg you please don’t give me more time,” Gutierrez told the court, adding that her “heart ached” for Hutchins’ family “The jury has found me at fault for this tragedy but that doesn’t make me a monster that makes me human.”

GUTIERREZ DID NOT ENSURE SAFETY ON SET

In a video call from Kiev the Ukraine-born cinematographer’s mother mourned her daughter’s death and her young grandson Andros being left without a mother.

“It’s the hardest thing to lose a child,” said Olga Solovey, whose comments were translated into English in subtitles.

Prosecutor Kari Morrissey pointed to phone calls by Gutierrez from jail in which she said the jurors were “idiots”, the judge had been “paid off”, and she continued to blame Baldwin and others for the shooting.

Gutierrez had already spent a month in Santa Fe County jail following her conviction.

On Mar 6, a Santa Fe jury took less than two hours to find her guilty. One juror afterwards said Gutierrez had not done her job to ensure weapons safety on set.

Hutchins’ death initially prompted US film and television productions to stop using real firearms and blank ammunition. Two and a half years later, many are using them again because of the realistic effects they produce, according to armourers.

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