Alec Baldwin May Face An Extra Five Years In Prison Due To A New Law In Rust Shooting Case

On October 21, 2021, on the set of the movie Rust at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot from a live round that ended up in a prop gun being used by lead actor Alec Baldwin. The investigation into Hutchins’ death concluded last month, and on January 31, Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed were officially charged with two counts of manslaughter. Now word’s come in that Baldwin may face an extra five years in prison due to a new law that’s been passed as this shooting case progresses.

In addition to the involuntary manslaughter charge against him, Alec Baldwin is now facing a “firearm enhancement” charge from New Mexico prosecutors, which carries with it a five-year penalty for “discharge of a firearm in the course of a felony,” as reported by Variety. However, the enhancement didn’t become incorporated into New Mexico law until May 2022, seven months after Halyna Hutchins was killed. As such, it’s unclear if a judge will allow this to be applied to Baldwin during the forthcoming trial.

As such, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and her appointed special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, are looking into the issue. Hannah Gutierrez Reed is also facing the firearm enhancement charge, and her attorney, Jason Bowles, claims that the New Mexico D.A.’s office has “clearly charged an enhancement that is barred by the constitution and ex post facto law.” When the shooting on the Rust set occurred in late 2021, New Mexico law did allow for a three-year enhancement for “brandishing” a firearm during the course of a felony, but “brandish” was specifically defined as requiring “intent to intimidate or injure a person.”

The involuntary manslaughter charges that Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez Reed are each facing carry a prison sentence of up to 18 months. As such, if both that charge and the firearm enhancement were to stick, they would be facing a maximum of up to six and a half years in prison. Baldwin and Reed are set to make their initial court appearances virtually on February 24, but Baldwin’s attorneys have already filed a motion to disqualify Andrea Reeb, arguing that her appointment as the case’s special prosector “violates the separation of powers provision in the state constitution” since she was elected to New Mexico’s House of Representatives last November.

Amidst all the latest developments in the Rust shooting case, although Alec Baldwin is “reportedly prepared for all outcomes,” he’s also been described as “distraught,” though he and his wife are doing their best to “stay strong” for their children. As far as Rust itself goes, it was set to resume filming in January, but because of the charges filed against Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the production remains paused. In April 2022, the movie was fined $136,793, the maximum fine allowed by New Mexico state law.

We here at CinemaBlend will continue to pass along updates on where things stand with Alec Baldwin in the Rust shooting case. Among the actor’s other projects are two movies, Supercell and 97 Minutes, but neither have been dated for the 2023 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.