Enlarge image

Film set of “Rust” in New Mexico (in October 2021)

Photo: Jae C. Hong / dpa

Even two and a half years after the death of a camerawoman on the film set of the western “Rust” with Alec Baldwin, the incident has not been legally dealt with.

Now the trial against weapons master Hannah Gutierrez-Reed begins in Santa Fe (US state of New Mexico).

At the start of the trial against the American, twelve jurors - seven men and five women - as well as four replacement jurors were selected on Wednesday, a court spokesman announced.

Gutierrez-Reed, who was partly responsible for weapons and security measures during the filming, is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The procedure takes around two weeks.

After jury selection, the prosecution and defense made opening statements.

Dozens of witnesses and experts could be called in the trial.

If found guilty, the weapons master could face up to 18 months in prison.

Lead actor and producer Alec Baldwin (65), who operated the revolver that fired the fatal shot during rehearsals for a film scene, is also charged with negligent homicide.

The actor's trial could begin this summer.

An exact date is not yet known.

Both have repeatedly denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.

Public prosecutor: Alcohol and drugs as possible contributing factors

The serious incident occurred in October 2021 at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico.

Camerawoman Halyna Hutchins (42) was fatally hit by the projectile and director Joel Souza was injured in the shoulder.

Film crew members had complained about negligence and lack of safety on set.

The then 24-year-old armorer had little professional experience and was overwhelmed, it was said.

Last year, the public prosecutor also brought alcohol and drug consumption into play as contributing factors.

Gutierrez-Reed may have been hungover when she handled weapons on set, the prosecution alleged.

She is also said to have passed cocaine on to someone in order to get rid of possible evidence in the investigation.

Gutierrez-Reed's lawyer, Jason Bowles, spoke at the time of damage to his reputation.

A key question in the trial revolves around how the live ammunition ended up on set.

In addition to so-called harmless dummy cartridges, the investigators also found real cartridges at the filming location.

Gutierrez-Reed had loaded the revolver, which was then handed to Baldwin.

The prosecution accuses her of not checking the ammunition carefully.