Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ armorer’s plea for no jail time is ‘too little, too late’: expert

The “Rust” armorer’s plea for no jail time is “too little, too late,” as Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s legal team argued for a conditional discharge ahead of her April 15 sentencing hearing.

Lawyers for Gutierrez Reed argued she qualifies for no jail time due to her “lack of a criminal history,” “personal character traits” and the armorer’s young age. The conviction of involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 18 months.

A jury found Gutierrez Reed guilty of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the death of Halyna Hutchins. The cinematographer died on the set of “Rust” on October 21, 2021 when a gun actor Alec Baldwin was holding discharged.

“It’s possible the judge grants [Gutierrez Reed] a conditional discharge, but I don’t think it’s likely,” former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Fox News Digital. “Gutierrez Reed still hasn’t accepted any responsibility for her actions which caused someone’s death. She pushed her case to trial, and her lawyers have said they’re going to appeal because of the jury instructions.”


“At the time of the shooting, Gutierrez Reed was more concerned with her career being over than Hutchins’ death,” he continued. “Add the drug use and obstruction of justice – I don’t think she’s a very sympathetic defendant. These letters are probably too little, too late to sway the judge.”

The felony that Gutierrez Reed was convicted of is the lowest type of felony offense, but “it will be difficult for the court to ignore that the crime led to a loss of life,” Oleg Nekritin, a defense attorney at the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot, told Fox News Digital.

“As part of its sentence, the court must consider Ms. Guiterrez Reed’s good character and her caretaking functions for her sick father,” he further explained. “However, the court will most likely be swayed by the position of the victim’s family and the State. If the victim’s family and the State request that Ms. Guiterrez Reed be sentenced to a term of incarceration, it will be likely that the court will follow suit.” 

“If the victim’s family asks for leniency, that may give the court cover and reason to be lenient and justify a lower sentence. Ms. Guitterez-Reed’s future may depend on the grace of the victim’s family.”

Gutierrez Reed’s sentencing memorandum, filed April 10, listed all the reasons that she shouldn’t spend time in jail – including her father’s cancer diagnosis. Up until her incarceration, Gutierrez Reed had been caring for Thell Reed, according to her legal team. 

The armorer’s father had also set up a GoFundMe, with a fundraising goal of $100,000, to help cover Gutierrez Reed’s legal costs. However, the fundraiser was shut down because it violated the platform’s rule against raising money for “the legal defense of alleged financial and violent crimes,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.


Gutierrez Reed’s boyfriend and childhood friend, Sean Kridelbaugh Jr., wrote a letter of support for Gutierrez Reed further confirming that the armorer was taking care of Thell.

“She’s always helping people and going out of her way to make sure people are okay. She’s a part of her community and always working and taking care of her dad,” the letter read.

“She’s an amazing person that the media is painting a bad picture about. To say she isn’t remorseful would be an understatement,” he continued. “These past few years have been the hardest for her mentally with not only Ms. Hutchins death but with all the harassment and threats she gets from the case being highly public and the release of her personal information.”

Others have also sent letters of support to the court, which create a “holistic” picture of Gutierrez Reed’s character, the court filing stated.

“Following the jury verdict, counsel have received numerous unsolicited emails and calls from around the country and world, from people expressing their support for Ms. Gutierrrez Reed,” Bowles wrote. “We have been informed that people have mailed letters on their own to the Court, and we ask that the Court consider all the sentiments expressed in these letters as well in computing a reasonable sentence that balances punishment, with rehabilitation, and the need for deterrence with the notion of fairness – including that Sarah Zachry received complete immunity and David Halls received 6 months of unsupervised probation on a misdemeanor.”


Gutierrez Reed’s legal team focused on the “facts,” which Bowles insists back a conditional discharge.

“She has a complete lack of prior criminal history,” Bowles wrote. “It is proper to consider her employment record, record of prior good works and positive things she has done when considering this sentencing option.”

He continued: “The facts support a conditional discharge, based on her lack of a criminal history, her personal character traits as expressed in the outpouring of letters from the community, and her relative youth and the devastating effect a felony will have on her life going forward. A conditional discharge will require Ms. Gutierrez Reed to abide by all set conditions during any term of a probationary period and to undergo all counseling and rehabilitative efforts this Court requires.”

Gutierrez Reed was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on March 6 following a two-week trial. She was also found not guilty of evidence tampering, a charge she received in 2023 after investigators accused her of passing off a bag of cocaine on the day of the fatal set shooting.

The jury deliberated for less than three hours at the New Mexico courthouse. After the verdict was read, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ordered that Gutierrez Reed be taken into custody, where she has remained awaiting her sentencing.

The armorer faces up to 18 months in prison, in addition to a $5,000 fine.


Gutierrez Reed’s trial, which began February 21, saw testimony from weapons experts, FBI and Santa Fe County authorities and crew members who witnessed the fatal shooting.

The prosecution largely focused on Gutierrez Reed’s behavior as an armorer, claiming she didn’t do her job correctly.

“Hannah Gutierrez knew that Baldwin was loose. She knew it,” special prosecutor Kari 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 hadn’t presented enough evidence to convict the armorer of involuntary manslaughter.

Fox News Digital’s Tracy Wright contributed to this report.