Alec Baldwin Gets Charge Dropped in 'Rust' Shooting Case and Faces Reduced Prison Sentence

‘Rust’ Shooting: Alec Baldwin Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter

Santa Fe prosecutors are dropping the firearms enhancement charge against the actor.

Alec Baldwin is now facing significantly reduced prison time over the death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. On Monday, ET confirmed that Santa Fe prosecutors are dropping the firearms enhancement charge against the actor. 

Now, Baldwin faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter for the shooting, which has a lesser prison sentence of 18 months, rather than five years in jail. Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had the firearms enhancement charge dropped as well and faces the same sentence. 

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed are scheduled to make their initial court appearances this week, they have not been formally convicted of any charges. 

"In order to avoid further litigious distractions by Mr. Baldwin and his attorneys, the District Attorney and the special prosecutor have removed the firearm enhancement to the involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the 'Rust' film set. The prosecution's priority is securing justice, not securing billable hours for big-city attorneys,” New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney spokesperson Heather Brewer said in a statement Monday. 

In January, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Hutchins.

The first charge, which is now the only remaining charge, is referred to as involuntary manslaughter. For this charge to be proved there must be underlying negligence. This also includes a misdemeanor charge for negligent use of a firearm. Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The charge that was dropped is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act. This charge requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death. This is also a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. This charge includes a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty, because a firearm was involved. The firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.

The Rust shooting occurred on Oct. 21, 2021, inside a church building on a film set outside Santa Fe. Baldwin was sitting on a wooden pew, rehearsing unholstering his prop gun and pointing it at the camera, when he fired it, according to a search warrant filed by Santa Fe County Sheriff's investigators. 

Baldwin has repeatedly said it was an accident, insisting he did not pull the trigger. But an FBI forensic report found the weapon could not have fired unless the trigger was pulled, according to the Associated Press. New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator determined Hutchins' death to be accidental.    

For more on the Rust tragedy, check out the links below.