Rust Armorer Texts Suggest Marijuana Use The Night Before
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‘Rust’ Trial: Armorer’s Texts Suggest Marijuana Use The Night Before Shooting

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BY February 24, 2024

In the trial of Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, prosecutors sent text messages to jurors Friday. They revealed that she had used marijuana the night before a fatal accident on the Santa Fe, New Mexico, set.

Prosecutors are building an argument about Gutierrez Reed’s negligence and lack of professionalism. They further argue that these were contributing factors in the death of Halyna Hutchins, the film’s director of photography.

‘Rust’ Trial: Armorer’s Texts Indicate Marijuana Consumption the Evening Before the Shooting

In a text message to a colleague on October 20, 2021, Rust armorer Gutierrez Reed wrote: “Right on, I might go smoke in the jacuzzi soon, but maybe not I’m so pooped.”, “Headed down to get high out back:b,” she also wrote.

Subsequently, the crew member inquired, “How did the smoking session go?” to which Gutierrez Reed responded, “I’m still indulging.”

In a pre-trial decision, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer permitted the prosecution to present a restricted set of text messages alluding to drug use.

The indictment accuses Rust armorer of smoking marijuana while possessing ammunition intended for use on the set.

Actor Alec Baldwin accidentally fired a live round, resulting in the death of Halyna Hutchins during the setup of a scene on October 21, 2021. The firearm was supposed to contain only dummy rounds. Six live ammunition rounds were discovered on the set, accompanied by approximately 250 inert rounds and nearly 1000 blank cartridges.

‘Rust’ Trial: Armorer Images Showed On Trial

On Thursday and Friday, the prosecution presented the jury with numerous photographs depicting rounds retrieved from the scene.

The images showed several simulated cartridges, including some with perforations on the side. There were also others with a design geared to produce a rattling sound when shaken. At the trial we could see a number of cartridges, stored in boxes, loose inside a fanny pack or placed on a prop cart.

“There were multiple cartridges of multiple calibers all over the top of this cart.” This was the testimony of Marissa Poppell, evidence technician for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

Among the visual evidence on display was a container with 36 dummy cartridges. It also had brass-colored baits and a single real cartridge distinguishable by a silver bait. Here we can see the live round, in the middle row on the right-hand side.

Rust Armorer Image: Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office

Following an open records request, the Sheriff’s Office disclosed the evidence photos in 2022. According to the indictment, Rust armorer Gutiérrez Reed transported that box to the set. In addition, he failed to distinguish between the test bullets and the real bullets.

The defense has attempted to shift responsibility to Seth Kenney, the set’s ammunition and weapons supplier. During the cross-examination of Poppell, defence attorney Jason Bowles presented photos of a record of Kenney’s business. He further asserted that the business appeared remarkably disorganized.

Who is Responsible for the Presence of Live Bullets on the Set?

Rust Film Image: IMDB

The prosecution continues to argue that Kenney cannot be held responsible for the presence of live bullets. Poppell testified that only a small number of live bullets were discovered at Kenney’s business, and that these were notably different from the live bullets discovered on the set.

Morrissey, the lead prosecutor, displayed various types of rounds to the jurors on Thursday and shook a dummy round with a BB inside to make its rattling sound audible. She questioned the technician on Friday, stating, “This isn’t rocket science, right? This is pretty easy?”

Bowles aimed to illustrate that the situation is more complex than presented. He countered the prosecution’s assertion that the silver primer could readily identify live rounds. Bowles presented an image of a gun belt containing silver-baited blanks that police discovered in the prop truck.

Two out of the 250 dummy rounds discovered on the set exhibited unusual characteristics—they did not produce a rattling sound when shaken. They lacked a hole in the side, as per Poppell’s testimony. Due to these anomalies, technicians suspected one of these rounds might be live and subsequently forwarded it to the FBI for further analysis.

“That’s not something that Ms. Zachry (the prop master) or Ms. Gutierrez Reed had the luxury of on set, did they?” Bowles asked.

“No,” Poppell said.

The defense contends that someone tampered with the evidence, alleging that Kenney worked closely with investigators to deflect blame from himself and place the blame on Gutierrez Reed.

Rust armorer Gutierrez Reed could potentially face a prison sentence of up to three years if found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering.

Featured Image Via Rust Movie


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