Seth Kenney

Source: Court TV screenshot

Seth Kenney

The supplier of guns and dummy ammunition to the ill-fated Rust production has told a New Mexico court that his company never sent live rounds to the set where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died in October 2021.

Testifying in the involuntary manslaughter trial of armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, Albuquerque-based PDQ Arm & Prop owner Seth Kenney said he provided dummy rounds to the Rust set on October 12, 2021, which had been used on the TV show 1883.

Kenney said he rattled each round prior to delivery. He said if he could not hear a rattle it was a sign the round was not to be trusted and he would not have sent it to the set.

The provenance of live rounds is a key element in the case. 

Kenney recounted a heated text exchange with Gutierrez-Reed on October 5, 2021, in which he reprimanded her for losing some dummy rounds.

He added that Gutierrez-Reed made up the shortfall from the dummy rounds he supplied by asking her father, the veteran armourer Thell Reed, for some that had been used an earlier production called The Old Way.

The prosecution alleges Gutierrez-Reed negligently loaded a live round into the prop gun and handing it to Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal at Bonanza Creek Ranch, Santa Fe, on October 21 2021. The prop gun in Baldwin’s hand discharged, hitting Hutchins, who died hours later in hospital. 

Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to two charges of involuntary manslaughter and one of evidence tampering.

Her lawyer Jason Bowes talked to Kenney about how his company had provided live ammunition for 1883. Kenney said he returned those rounds to his office in Albuquerque and put them in a marked grey bin.

Photographs of Kenney’s office shown to the court revealed a room with boxes of dummy rounds piled on shelves next to guns. Kenney said he had no formal system for recording his inventory.

Law enforcement searched Kenney’s offices after the tragedy and did not find any live rounds that matched the rounds found on the Rust set.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

Source: Court TV screenshot

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

On the issue of evidence tampering, the court also heard from Rebecca Smith, a friend of Gutierrez-Reed and a former addict who served as key crafts services on the Rust production.

Smith said she visited her friend’s hotel room on the night of the tragedy and was asked by Gutierrez-Reed to dispose of a bag within a bag which contained a white powder. Smith says she believed the bag contained cocaine and threw it into a hallway rubbish bin.

Asked by defence attorney Bowles if she could say for sure the bag contained cocaine, Smith said she could not. Bowles said the bag was never tested by police.

Late last week the trial heard from Rust’s director Joel Souza, who was hit in the shoulder when the gun discharged on October 21, 2021. Souza said of the incident it felt as if he had been struck on the shoulder with a baseball bat. He was taken to to hospital and discharged later that day.

If found guilty of the three charges Gutierrez-Reed faces up to three years in prison.

Baldwin faces trial in July on charges of involuntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.