'Rust' armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed now also facing tampering with evidence charge

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on the film's set in 2021.

June 22, 2023, 8:16 PM

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the "Rust" film set armorer charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, is now also being charged with tampering with evidence.

On Thursday, state prosecutors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, amended their criminal complaint against the defendant to include the new charge. They claim in the court filing, obtained by ABC News, that Gutierrez-Reed "did transfer narcotics to another person with the intent to prevent the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of herself."

No further details about the new count were included in the filing.

An image of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died after being shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of his movie "Rust", is displayed at a vigil in Albuquerque, N.M., Oct. 23, 2021.
Kevin Mohatt/Reuters, FILE

A lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed, Jason Bowles, responded quickly, calling the new filing "shocking."

"It is shocking that after 20 months of investigation, the special prosecutor now throws in a completely new charge against Ms. Gutierrez Reed, with no prior notice or any witness statements, lab reports, or evidence to support it," Bowles said in a statement. "This comes on the heels of the state letting its lead investigator go, and the investigator raising serious concerns about the investigation in an email. This stinks to high heaven and is retaliatory and vindictive."

New Mexico special prosecutor Kari Morrissey responded to Bowles’ statement with one of her own.

“The prosecutors are determined to get the facts of the case before the court. The ongoing investigation revealed strong evidence that Ms. Gutierrez-Reed tampered with evidence on the day of the shooting by asking another person to take possession of her narcotics. She is properly charged with tampering with evidence and the prosecution will provide Mr. Bowles all evidence related to the new charge in a timely fashion,” her statement read. “Defendants are never entitled to notice that an information is being filed, the information is the notice.  Defendants are not entitled to discovery prior to charges being filed. As a former prosecutor Mr. Bowles knows this to be true.”

Bowles also responded with his own court filing on behalf of the film armorer, asking a judge to dismiss the new information and to order the state prosecutor turn over emails between the investigator, the district attorney, and state prosecutors.

Last month, attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed filed a motion to dismiss her case in the fatal on-set shooting of Hutchins.

Gutierrez-Reed was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Hutchins, 42, on the New Mexico set of the Western in October 2021. Her attorneys previously said she intends to plead not guilty and that she has no idea how live rounds ended up in the gun.

The two charges of involuntary manslaughter against actor Alec Baldwin, who was holding the gun when it went off, were dropped in April.

"We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident," Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, the attorneys for Baldwin, said in a statement at the time.

Gun enhancement charges filed in the case against both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were dropped in late February.

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