Fatal timeline in the Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ shooting that led to actor’s involuntary manslaughter charge

Fatal timeline in the Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ shooting that led to actor’s involuntary manslaughter charge

Alec Baldwin was in court Tuesday for the start of his involuntary manslaughter trial.

The “Rust” star appeared for the first time in a courtroom for a pre-trial hearing July 8 after previously waiving his pre-trial appearances. He faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer could sentence the 66-year-old actor to prison for up to 18 months.

Baldwin’s legal team fought hard to have the charge dismissed before the July 9 start date, but Sommer denied all three motions to dismiss the case. Alex Spiro and Luke Nikas gave a handful of legal reasons why the case should be dropped, including a prejudiced grand jury, failure to allege a criminal offense and destruction of evidence.

However, Sommer rejected each argument in a series of hearings.

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Here is a timeline of the fatal shooting aftermath that landed Baldwin in court:

Filming began for the “Rust” movie in October 2021. The Western film, which was shot on Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico, had a small cast and crew. Due to safety concerns and long hours, the camera crew walked off set on Oct. 20.

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The next day, a gun Baldwin had been holding discharged – killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Right before the shooting, Baldwin had been handed the gun by the assistant director. Dave Halls and armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed had both allegedly claimed the gun was a “cold,” meaning there was no live ammo.

Baldwin sat down for an interview regarding the fatal shooting in December 2021, two months after Hutchins’ death.

The actor described the moment the gun was discharged during the interview. “I let go of the hammer of the gun,” Baldwin told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “And the gun goes off.”

“I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin reiterated. “The gun was supposed to be empty,” he said.

Baldwin and Hutchins had been setting up for a shot where the actor was supposed to draw the gun and point it at the camera. While standing next to the camera, the cinematographer was “guiding” Baldwin on where to point the gun, he said. “The gun wasn’t meant to be fired in that angle,” he confirmed.

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On April 25, 2022, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department released an entire database of evidence in the “Rust” case, including police interviews with Baldwin, Gutierrez Reed and Halls.

“When I shot the gun, away from the cameraman, I never aim the gun at the camera, I turned, and I went like this,” Baldwin told investigators in one video, making a gun with his fingers. “And she was there. And the gun went off. And she just went right on the ground.”

Authorities would spend over a year investigating before bringing any charges against the “Rust” cast and crew.

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Fifteen months after the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust,” Baldwin was hit with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Baldwin, along with the film’s armorer, were formally charged on Jan. 31, 2023.

“Today we have taken another important step in securing justice for Halyna Hutchins,” District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement at the time. “In New Mexico, no one is above the law, and justice will be served.”

Baldwin’s preliminary hearing was set for May. Carmack-Altwies stepped down from the case shortly after, in March 2023.

“[Kari] Morrissey’s and [Jason] Lewis’ extensive experience and trial expertise will allow the state to pursue justice for Halyna Hutchins and ensure that in New Mexico everyone is held accountable under the law,” Heather Brewer, spokesperson, First New Mexico Judicial District Attorney, said in a statement.

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Special prosecutors chose to dismiss the “30 Rock” star’s charge in April 2023.

“We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic incident,” Nikas and Spiro said in a statement.

Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis were weeks away from having to show a judge there was enough evidence for a reasonable person to convict Baldwin at a preliminary hearing expected to last two weeks.

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The prosecution made it clear that Baldwin could still face charges and “new facts” required further investigation. In their motion to dismiss, Morrissey and Lewis noted the forensic analysis required could not be completed before the start of the scheduled preliminary hearing.

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Baldwin was not in the clear regarding criminal charges after the initial charges were dismissed. A grand jury indicted the actor on two counts of involuntary manslaughter on Jan. 19, over two years after the fatal shooting. The move came nearly nine months after the canceled preliminary hearing.

“We look forward to our day in court,” Spiro and Nikas told Fox News Digital at the time.

Baldwin was charged with two counts – involuntary manslaughter, negligent use of a firearm, or, in the alternative, involuntary manslaughter without due caution or circumspection.

Gutierrez Reed’s involuntary manslaughter trial began on Feb. 21. The jury saw testimony from weapons experts, FBI and Santa Fe County authorities, and crew members who witnessed the fatal shooting during the nearly two-week-long trial.

The prosecution largely focused on Gutierrez Reed’s behavior as an armorer, alleging she did not do her job correctly.

“Hannah Gutierrez knew that Baldwin was loose. She knew it,” Morrissey said during closing arguments. “She didn’t do anything about it, even though it was her job. It was her job. It is her job to say to an A-list actor, if, in fact, that’s what you want to call him, ‘Hey, you can’t behave that way with those firearms.’ That is her job. That is what they pay her for. That is the job that she applied for. That is the job that she accepted.”

Gutierrez Reed’s legal team had told the jury that the prosecution had not presented enough evidence to convict the armorer of involuntary manslaughter.

However, a jury convicted the armorer on March 6 after nearly three hours of deliberations.

Judge Sommer sentenced Gutierrez Reed to 18 months in prison after a jury found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The “Rust” armorer was responsible for the firearms on the Western film set where cinematographer Hutchins was shot and killed.

“I find that what you did constitutes a serious, violent offense,” Sommer said following the sentencing. “It was committed in a physically violent manner. A fatal gunshot done with your recklessness in the face of knowledge that your acts were reasonably likely to result in serious harm.”

“You were the armorer, the one that’s to be between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone. You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you, Mrs. Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother. Please take her.”

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Baldwin’s trial began July 9 in Santa Fe courthouse. The trial is expected to last until July 19.

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Baldwin’s legal team spent the last few months using every play in the book to have his charge dismissed, but Sommer denied each motion to dismiss.

If convicted, Baldwin could be sentenced to prison for up to 18 months.

A panel of 16 jurors, including four alternatives, were chosen July 9. Special prosecutor Erlinda Johnson and Baldwin’s lawyer, Spiro, gave opening statements July 10.

Baldwin has been supported during his trial so far by wife Hilaria Baldwin and brother, Stephen Baldwin.

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