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‘Rust’ assistant director gives emotional testimony in armorer’s trial


(SANTA FE, N.M) — David Halls, the first assistant director for “Rust,” gave emotional testimony Thursday about the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the involuntary manslaughter trial of armorer Hannah Gutierrez.

Actor Alec Baldwin was practicing a cross-draw in a church on the set of the Western movie in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2021 when the gun fired a live round, striking Hutchins and director Joel Souza, who suffered a non-life-threatening injury.

Halls, the film’s safety coordinator, had conducted the safety check on the Colt .45 revolver before it was handed to Baldwin.

The actor was discussing where to point the gun with Hutchins before the shooting occurred, Halls told the court, tearing up.

“Then the gun went off,” Halls said. “It wasn’t computing.”

“My thought was that a blank round had been loaded,” he said.

Halls said he was one of the first people to reach Hutchins, who was on the ground, and asked her if she was all right.

“She said, ‘I can’t feel my legs,'” Halls said, crying.

Halls was charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon and sentenced in March 2023 to six months of unsupervised probation as part of a plea deal.

Asked by prosecutors on Thursday why he accepted that plea deal, he responded, “I was negligent in checking the gun properly.”

Gutierrez, 26, was charged with involuntary manslaughter last year in Hutchins’ death following a lengthy investigation. She was subsequently charged with tampering with evidence. Prosecutors allege she handed off a small bag of cocaine after her interview with law enforcement following the shooting.

She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Defense attorney Jason Bowles said during opening statements last week that the production and state have made Gutierrez a “scapegoat” in the tragic shooting.

The defense has argued there is no proof that cocaine was in the bag and that she was charged with the offense “in an effort to cause unfair prejudice” to the defendant during the trial.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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