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FRI: Movie weapons supervisor waives preliminary hearing in fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin, + More

A vigil celebrates cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in Albuquerque, N.M. Hutchins was killed on set while filming the movie <em>Rust</em> when a prop firearm held by actor Alec Baldwin discharged.
Andres Leighton
A vigil celebrates cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in Albuquerque, N.M. Hutchins was killed on set while filming the movie Rust when a prop firearm held by actor Alec Baldwin discharged.

Movie weapons supervisor waives preliminary hearing in fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin - By Morgan Lee Associated Press

The woman who was overseeing the use of weapons on the movie set where Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer agreed Friday to forgo a preliminary hearing that would have provided court testimony from dozens of people, including eyewitnesses to the shooting.

Arizona-based armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, in a court filing, waived her right to a courtroom review of evidence on charges of involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Western movie "Rust." Gutierrez-Reed also waived her right to a review of charges by a grand jury.

Defense attorney Jason Bowles has described Hutchins' death on Oct. 21, 2021, as a tragic accident and says that Gutierrez-Reed committed no crime. Gutierrez-Reed has not entered a plea to charges of involuntary manslaughter and evidence-tampering. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison.

"Rust" safety coordinator and assistant director David Halls has pleaded no contest to a charge of unsafe handling of a firearm and received a suspended sentence of six months' probation.

In April, prosecutors dropped charges against Baldwin, who was pointing a gun at Hutchins when it went off, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza.

That left Gutierrez-Reed as the sole remaining defendant.

Baldwin has said the gun fired accidentally after he followed instructions to point it toward Hutchins, who was behind the camera. He said he pulled back the hammer — but not the trigger — and the gun fired.

Prosecutors have reserved the right to refile charges against Baldwin and commissioned additional weapons testing to investigate whether the gun's hammer was intentionally modified.

Authorities have not fully explained how live ammunition found its way onto the film set and into the .45-caliber revolver.

Authorities say Gutierrez-Reed loaded the gun prior to a lunch break with what should have been inert dummy ammunition. Prosecutors say the armorer was negligent amid a breakdown of safety protocols as cast and crew began rehearsing with the weapon — containing a live round — in the early afternoon.

Prosecutors have recently filed the evidence-tampering charge on allegations that Gutierrez-Reed handed off a small bag of narcotics to a colleague amid police interviews on the day of the shooting.

Bowles says prosecutors are engaged in "character assassination." Gutierrez-Reed will undergo regular drug testing at her own expense under new terms of pretrial release approved Thursday by a New Mexico judge.

The filming of "Rust" resumed in April in Montana under an agreement with the cinematographer's husband, Matthew Hutchins, that makes him an executive producer.

Rust Movie Productions, the company that originally bankrolled the movie, has paid a $100,000 fine to New Mexico workplace safety regulators who issued a scathing narrative of "serious," but not willful, safety failures, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on set before the fatal shooting.

With major productions on hold during the Hollywood writers and actor strikes, no weapons of any kind are being used on those sets for the time being.

Since the fatal shooting on "Rust," there has been a significant industry shift toward replacing real guns that fire blanks with replicas and digital-effects gunfire. But moves that some supported — including gun bans via legislation, studio requirements or union demands — have not happened.


AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Santa Fe Recovery Center secures $1.5 million federal grantBy Nash Jones, KUNM News 

Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation announced Friday that the U.S. Health and Human Services Department has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Santa Fe Recovery Center.

The bulk of the funding comes from the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program, according to the office of Sen. Martin Heinrich, which prioritizes expanding the Medication Assisted Treatment Access program. The office says the work aims to “eliminate outdated, bureaucratic barriers preventing practitioners from prescribing lifesaving drugs like buprenorphine.”

About a third of the funds comes to the Santa Fe nonprofit through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to improve its capacity to address substance use and mental health disorders.

Hundreds of layoffs planned in the Albuquerque area - Albuquerque Journal, KUNM News

Over 300 Albuquerque area residents will lose their jobs if two businesses move forward with planned layoffs.

The Albuquerque Journal reports California-based Tattooed Chef Inc. — a plant-based frozen food company - will lay off 272 New Mexico workers by the end of the month, according to filings with the Department of Workforce Solutions. The company recently announced plans to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Meanwhile, vacuum insulation panel builder Kevothermal LLC will let 118 workers go by mid-September, according to the WARN list.

Albuquerque teens accused of using drug deal to rob and kill woman - Associated Press

Two teenage boys in Albuquerque are facing murder charges after police say they set up a drug deal to rob the victim.

Police spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said Friday that a 14-year-old and 15-year-old were arrested in the July 4 killing of Alana Gamboa.

They were both booked into the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center. The 15-year-old is charged with one count each of murder, robbery and evidence tampering, according to a criminal complaint filed in court. The 14-year-old faces the same charges, Gallegos said.

The Associated Press does not generally identify juvenile crime suspects.

According to investigators, Gamboa and one of the teens had been chatting via social media and agreed to meet so he could buy mushrooms and marijuana vape pens.

The victim was sitting in her car around 12:35 a.m. and reaching for a gun when she was shot. Gamboa died by the time authorities got to the scene.

Gallegos said detectives used social media conversations, witness statements and surveillance video to identify one of the boys as a juvenile who was on supervised probation.

They located him Thursday at an apartment complex, where the second teen suspect was also present and admitted to shooting Gamboa.

The investigation into Gamboa's death is ongoing.

The arrests come a day after a 13-year-old Albuquerque boy was charged with murder and other counts in the shooting of a different woman. She allegedly confronted him and other teens who were riding around in her vehicle, which had been stolen days earlier.

Fired New Mexico State basketball coach says he was made the scapegoat for toxic culture - Associated Press

Former New Mexico State University basketball coach Greg Heiar says he was made the scapegoat for hazing and other problems that administrators chose to ignore and that he has suffered mental anguish and emotional distress since being fired by the university.

He outlined the claims in a document related to an arbitration case in which he alleges that the university wrongfully fired him without cause, violated his due process rights and breached its contract.

He contends that Athletic Director Mario Moccia and former Chancellor Dan Arvizu fired him "in order create their own self-serving narrative with the public and make (him) the scapegoat for all of the issues and cultural dysfunction within the university that NMSU had ignored."

The university responded with its own filing, denying the allegations that Heiar was wrongfully fired and that there were cultural problems at NMSU.

The university released the documents Thursday following a report by ESPN, which first obtained the documents. An arbitration hearing between the parties is expected to begin next year.

Heiar was dismissed from NMSU in February following hazing allegations within the team that shut down the program for the season. The Aggies were 9-15 overall and 2-10 in the Western Athletic Conference when the season was stopped.

New Mexico State agreed to pay $8 million to settle a lawsuit involving two basketball players who said they were sexually assaulted by teammates, according to state records released last month.

The Aggies always were able to make a name for themselves every March thanks to a men's basketball program that traditionally thrived on the strength of players and coaches who didn't always take the traditional route to Division I. But this year, the program disintegrated.

The unraveling can be traced to an NMSU football game last Oct. 15 in which a handful of the school's basketball players got into a brawl with students from rival University of New Mexico. Video of the melee shows junior forward Mike Peake among those throwing punches.

Weeks later, the players headed to Albuquerque for one of the season's most anticipated games, against the Lobos. Peake broke curfew and went to a dormitory complex to meet a girl. It ended up being an ambush by one of the students involved in the brawl.

Video from the apartment parking lot shows Peake being attacked with a baseball bat before exchanging gunfire with UNM student Brandon Travis. Peake was taken to the hospital with leg wounds that required surgery. Travis died from his gunshot wounds.

The hazing allegations followed, with Heiar saying he was unaware and that it wasn't until a month later that he was told about an investigation attached to those accusations. In its response, the school said it could not inform Heiar or any coaches about the allegations due to Title IX and school policies.

New Mexico-based Danoff Law Firm, which represents Heiar, said in the arbitration document that NMSU and its athletic department were willing to do whatever it took to continue to win, put fans in the stands, and earn national recognition with conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances, even thought that meant "creating and fostering a toxic and secretive culture where allegations of misconduct and inappropriate behavior were often ignored or swept under the rug."

Heiar's attorneys also alleged that Moccia and his superiors seized control of the program and would not allow the coach to discipline players.

The university's attorneys disputed those allegations in their response, which was filed in early July.

That document states that Heiar "was given an opportunity to ask questions regarding NMSU, the NMSU basketball players, and any perceived compliance issues during his initial interview at NMSU and failed to ask those questions he now wishes to fault NMSU for not furnishing prior to the initiation of his employment."

Heiar recently was hired to coach Mineral Area College, a junior college in Missouri. That school has said it was aware of the litigation involving Heiar and NMSU and considered the litigation and related allegations during the hiring process.

Actor Mark Margolis, murderous drug kingpin on 'Breaking Bad' and 'Better Call Saul,' dies at 83 - By Jocelyn Noveck AP National Writer

Veteran character actor Mark Margolis, who had a breakout role as a mobster in "Scarface" and became best known for playing vindictive former drug kingpin Hector Salamanca in TV's "Breaking Bad" and then in the prequel "Better Call Saul," has died at age 83.

The actor died on Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City following a short illness, according to a statement from his son, Morgan Margolis.

Margolis was nominated for an Emmy in 2012 for "Breaking Bad," for outstanding guest actor, as Hector, the elderly don of his drug clan who was unable to speak or walk due to a stroke. Much of his character's backstory later played out on "Better Call Saul," the prequel in which he guest-starred from 2016 to 2022. Margolis has said he based his portrayal of the drug kingpin partly on his own experience caring for a relative who had suffered a stroke.

On social media, many shared scenes of murderous Hector "Tio" Salamanca — and his explosive demise — who communicated only with vivid facial expressions and by ringing a bell taped to his wheelchair. Margolis was hailed on the official X (formerly Twitter) account of "Breaking Bad" as an "immensely talented" actor "who — with his eyes, a bell, and very few words — turned Hector Salamanca into one of the most unforgettable characters in the history of television."

Margolis also was known for many film roles, particularly in the films of Darren Aronofsky, including "Noah," "Black Swan," "The Wrestler" and "Pi."

But his breakout film role was mobster Alberto "The Shadow" in Brian de Palma's 1983 "Scarface," opposite Al Pacino's Tony Montana, who famously shoots and kills Alberto before the latter can detonate a car bomb and kill an innocent woman and her kids.

Other film roles included "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Gone Baby Gone," "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," and "Stand Up Guys."

Margolis was born in Philadelphia in 1939 and studied acting in New York City with noted teacher Stella Adler. "I used to say, if God is a woman, this is him," Margolis said in a 2022 interview about Adler.

Focusing on the stage in his early career, he appeared in dozens of shows off-Broadway, including at the Public Theater in New York, and on Broadway in the short-lived "Infidel Caesar," based on Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" but set in Cuba. "The play crashed in about four weeks. It was beautiful but ahead of its time." He also founded Blue Dome, a touring theater troupe.

Though best known for "Breaking Bad" and "Better Called Saul," Margolis' many TV roles also included "The Equalizer," "Oz," "American Horror Story: Asylum," "Crossing Jordan," "Californication," and "The Affair." He most recently appeared in five episodes of Showtime's "Your Honor" as a Mafia kingpin.

His roles on the big screen spanned some 70 movies, most recently Matthew Coppola's 2022 "Broken Soldier" with Sophie Turner and the late Ray Liotta.

Margolis is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jacqueline Margolis, and his son Morgan, who is CEO of Knitting Factory Entertainment. The family plans to have a private memorial and funeral.

UNM, Bernalillo County officials say health care at the jail will improve - Austin Fisher, Source New Mexico 

After years of inadequate medical care, numerous deaths and countless cases of incarcerated people’s illnesses being neglected at New Mexico’s largest jail, local officials say they expect things to improve with University of New Mexico Hospital staff replacing the private contractors who had worked there.

The contract between the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center and the previous health care provider YesCare, formerly known as Corizon Health, officially expired July 25.

UNM Hospital staff first arrived at the jail at midnight on July 26, said Douglas Ziedonis, executive vice president for the UNM Health Sciences Center and CEO of the UNM Health System. He was speaking at a gathering of state and local officials outside the jail’s visitor entrance on Wednesday morning.

According to Bernalillo County officials, the work with UNM Hospital will help the local government comply with its obligations under the settlement agreement and court orders in McClendon v. Albuquerque, the decades-long class action lawsuit against the jail and the police who take people there.

The county’s Detention Center Advisory Board in May endorsed a Joint Powers Agreement, which states Bernalillo County and the hospital “desire to work together” to achieve “substantial compliance” with the mental health and medical aspects of the settlement in McClendon.

Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas Baca said she is confident that UNM Hospital will provide “quality and compassionate medical and mental health services to each and every” person held inside the county jail.

“Every time an inmate dies, is injured, or suffers a medical emergency, it weighs heavily on myself, on staff — especially, it’s so heartbreaking for the families and the community, and we acknowledge that,” Morgas Baca said. “Providing care for our inmates means taking a hard look at our current policies and procedures and determining how we can improve the outcomes.”

One of the issues documented in McClendon has to do with trips between the jail and hospital emergency rooms. Court records show jail health care staff were unfamiliar or unpracticed in responding to medical emergencies, there have been delays in follow up and continuity of care upon return from the emergency room or hospital after having a medical emergency.

MDC Warden Jason Jones said the jail is lowering the threshold for when an incarcerated person is sent to the hospital emergency room, “ensuring our sickest inmates are receiving the highest level of care possible.”

Dr. Rebecca Fastle is associate chief medical officer for special projects at UNM Hospital. She said she doesn’t know what the previous threshold was, “but we will send who needs to go.”

She said the hospital is sending a rapid response team of trained paramedics and emergency medical technicians to the jail on evenings and weekends, and they hope to expand it so they can be there 24/7.


A former health care worker previously told Source NM incoming inmates aren’t screened correctly when they’re entering the jail.

Along with regular work shift duties, MDC often had a single nurse cover both detox and psychiatric care — or didn’t staff a detox nurse — that means people suffering from substance use disorders do not get the right treatment, the worker said.

That can be deadly.

People incarcerated at MDC have also said they told jail officials upon intake that they were on methadone treatment, but instead of being given a dose, they were put into a detox unit for several days — sometimes more than a week.

Fastle said on Wednesday she wasn’t familiar with either of those practices, but they will not continue.

“We have no intention of doing that,” she said. “We will not be continuing that practice, but across New Mexico, staff shortages are an issue. We are actively recruiting to improve that staff, and that’s not our policy at all.”

Fastle said the Health Care Authority is “looking at how do we make detox standardized,” and how to bring incarcerated people in and get them the relief they need so detox is successful.

Jones said guards will be more able to identify what specific drugs incarcerated people are on when they arrive, “to determine the best detox practices and if they are well enough to be booked into the facility, or if they actually need hospitalization instead.”

“Our inmates deserve the best possible care, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to provide, and I know UNM Hospital staff feel the same way, as shown in the comprehensive care they have provided in this past week,” Jones said.

Fastle said the Health Care Authority will also address the jail’s sick call processes.

Calls for help by incarcerated people in medical emergencies, including seizures, have gone unanswered. At times, there were 1,500 pending sick calls under YesCare, Fastle said.

She said incarcerated people have lost faith in submitting sick calls because of the backlog.

People incarcerated at MDC often have wounds that, if left untreated, could turn septic and fatal.

At one point over the 2021-2022 holidays, a former health care worker previously told Source NM the jail didn’t do its daily wound clinic for a week because there was no wound care nurse to run it.

When UNM staff arrived last week, Fastle said, there were at least 15 people with wounds that needed to be treated. Fastle said she has asked for those people to be triaged to make sure that the people with the most urgent needs are seen immediately in the wound care clinic, even when there is not a wound care nurse.

“It’s not acceptable to ignore wound care; wound care is one of our top priorities as well,” she said.

In most states, whenever someone is incarcerated, they lose their Medicaid coverage, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.

New Mexico’s Medicaid program last year asked the federal government for permission to re-enroll incarcerated people into Medicaid so they can start providing medication-assisted treatment to them 30 days before they are released, along with a 30-day supply of medication when they leave.

Other states have received similar waivers, including California and Washington, said Dr. Rodney McNease, senior executive director of governmental affairs at UNM Hospital.

In a 275-page application to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by the New Mexico Human Services Department published in December, HSD said it hopes to ensure formerly incarcerated people stay on their medication after release, don’t commit more crime, end up in an emergency room or become unhoused.

McNease has overseen UNM’s takeover of health care at the jail along with Fastle. From now on, MDC will report to him when they need something from the hospital network.

McNease said he assumes a Medicaid-funded drug treatment at the jail will happen in the future, but as of Wednesday he had not yet spoken with anyone at the Human Services Department about a future program.

“I think we will get to the point where we could get that potentially implemented, but it is going to take some work at the state level,” he said.

Source NM asked HSD for comment but as of Wednesday afternoon, they had not responded. We will update this story if and when they do.

In the meantime, UNM Hospital will pay for medication-assisted treatment, and Bernalillo County will then reimburse the hospital, McNease said.

APS board approves three union contracts just ahead of new school year The Albuquerque Journal, KUNM News

Just before the first bell of the year rings out at schools across Albuquerque, the school board approved three new union contracts that give a boost in pay reflecting the new longer school year.

The Albuquerque journal reports the teachers, food service workers, and maintenance and operations employees’ union contracts didn’t pass without debate on both sides of the negotiating table, but were all ultimately approved after about an hour-long closed-door meeting Wednesday.

APS School Board President Yolanda Cordova said all the parties involved worked hard to find a solution that would provide “a good start” to the school year.

But union officials say the 6% pay raise may not be enough to stop some workers from leaving for the private sector, especially for maintenance and operations employees.

The three unions together represent more than 7,400 employees. The largest of the groups, the teacher’s union, counts more than 6200 workers on its own.

Torrez: State to change posture in years-long education reform case The Albuquerque Journal, KUNM News

The Attorney General’s office is opening up a new division focused on standing up for marginalized children, and students who have been left behind by the education system.

The Albuquerque Journal reports New Mexico AG Raul Torrez announced the new division Wednesday, despite the fact that the Governor recently pocket vetoed a bill that would have established the division earlier this year.

Torrez said members of the newly opened Civil Rights Division will reexamine the extensive filings in the Yazzie-Martinez lawsuit, in which the state district court found New Mexico had failed to meet its obligation to certain students.

This time, Torrez said instead of defending the state, they will look at the information from the position of standing up for the plaintiffs, “to stand up for the children, and to fight (for) the next generation.”

A 13-year-old boy is charged with murder in the shooting of an Albuquerque woman - Associated Press

A middle school student has been charged with murder and other counts in the shooting of a woman who allegedly confronted him and other teens who were riding around in her vehicle, which had been stolen days earlier.

The boy, who recently turned 13, was booked into the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said they would seek to keep him in custody pending trial and that authorities were trying to determine how the 8th grader got the gun. The Associated Press does not generally identify juvenile crime suspects.

District Attorney Sam Bregman said the woman was killed because she asked the teens what they were doing in her stolen car.

"You bet we're going to try and keep this teen in custody," Bregman said in a statement.

A public defender was planning to talk with the teen after learning that he had turned himself in. The boy also was charged with tampering with evidence and unlawful possession of a handgun.

The shooting happened Monday night at a gas station on the city's west side. Witnesses told police that the victim, identified as 23-year-old Sydney Wilson, had been trying to locate her stolen vehicle with the GPS on her phone.

Police said several teens were in the car and told police they stole several bottles of alcohol from a store.

According to a criminal complaint, the driver of the stolen car hit another vehicle and then crashed into a curb while trying to flee. The teens were starting to walk away when Wilson approached and asked why they were in her car. The complaint states that the 13-year-old boy, who had been in the rear passenger seat, pulled a gun and fired, hitting Wilson at least once.

Police found two shell casings at the scene and detained three teens, including one who was taken to a hospital due to intoxication.