'Rust' Shooting: Assistant Director David Halls Sentenced to 6 Months Unsupervised Probation

David Halls pleaded no contest in New Mexico court.

Rust assistant director David Halls has been sentenced to six months unsupervised probation after pleading no contest in New Mexico court on Friday.

Halls appeared virtually in court, where he officially entered his no contest plea to negligent/unsafe handling of a firearm that led to the onset October 2021 fatal shooting of the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. Halls had previously signed a plea agreement. 

As part of his plea deal, Halls, 63, must testify truthfully in all future hearings surrounding the case, must pay a $500 fine and take a firearm safety course within 60 days. He also may not possess alcohol or a controlled substance. 

Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey said, via Google Meet, that Halls was the safety coordinator and that he was the last line of defense in making sure the gun was safe to use.

Meanwhile, Halls' attorney, Lisa Torraco, said that had Halls' case gone to trial, one of the things that would have been litigated is the role of the safety coordinator.

"And we deny that it's the role of the safety coordinator that he's in charge of safety. If the people handling the firearms are negligent, he can't control how other people control firearms," Torraco said. "What he can do -- and what he was supposed to do -- is have safety meetings and trainings, and make sure that people are aware that there are firearms on set, that there are horses on set, that people need to stay hydrated, that there's rattlesnakes in the area, things like that."

"But he doesn't have control over how individual people handle things and he was not the supervisor of the people who handled the firearms that did discharge," she continued. "So, we tend to disagree with some of those facts about what the role is regarding the safety coordinator." 

Torraco also said Halls is riddled with guilt and that he wants to make things easier for the families involved in the tragedy, by getting this over with as quickly as possible. She added that Halls is traumatized over the incident, and that he has survivor's guilt and continually asks himself, "What could I have done better? How could I have changed things?"

She added that Halls wants the focus to remain on the Hutchins family as they continue to grieve. Torraco also implored New Mexico State District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer not to give Halls the maximum jail sentence of six months before Sommer ultimately sentenced Halls to six months of unsupervised probation.

Alec Baldwin has already formally entered a not-guilty plea to one count of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the fatal shooting. Like Baldwin, Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was also charged with involuntary manslaughter.