SANTA FE, N.M. (NEWSnet/AP) — New Mexico Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer told attorneys to “stay the course” on charges against a weapons supervisor in the shooting death of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin, during a 2021 movie rehearsal.
The ruling sets the stage for evidentiary hearings on manslaughter and evidence-tampering charges against movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. She is the sole remaining defendant in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, during the filming of “Rust” on Oct. 21, 2021.
In April, prosecutors dropped charges against Baldwin, who was pointing a gun at Hutchins when it fired, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
An attorney for Gutierrez-Reed unsuccessfully argued the case has been compromised by changes in the prosecution team, sloppiness with evidence and public statements by prosecutors that might interfere with the right to an impartial jury.
Sommer rejected the arguments and sided with prosecutors, who urged the court to move forward with a preliminary hearing that will decide whether evidence is sufficient to advance toward trial.
Authorities have not determined how live ammunition found its way into the revolver.
Baldwin said the gun fired accidentally after he followed instructions to point it toward Hutchins, who was behind the camera. He said he pulled back the hammer, but not the trigger, and the gun fired.
In April, prosecutors commissioned weapons testing to find whether the hammer of the gun used in the shooting may have been modified intentionally. An FBI report on the analysis found the wapon can fire without pulling the trigger if force is applied to an uncocked hammer, such as by dropping the weapon. The only way examiners could get the gun to fire was by striking it with a mallet while the hammer was down and resting on the cartridge, or by pulling the trigger while it was cocked.
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