The assistant director on the movie Rust, on the set of which actor-producer Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed the director of photography, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence today in a plea deal with prosecutors.

This is the first conviction in this case. Dave Hales pleaded guilty to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Hals was the one who gave the actor, on October 21, 2021, a gun that was supposed to be bulletproof. Baldwin opened fire, killing Halina Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. Hals, 63, had told him the gun was “cold”, meaning “safe” in Hollywood slang.

Alec Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reid have been charged with negligent homicide. They face up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The police investigation focused mainly on how the actual bullets were found at the shooting, on a ranch in New Mexico, since such a thing is prohibited, precisely to avoid accidents. Officers concluded that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was the one who put the bullet in the gun that Baldwin then used.

Prosecutor Carrie Morrissey said today that Dave Hulse, who had also taken on the role of the shooting’s “security co-ordinator” and was therefore “the last line of defence”, did not check all the bullets in the gun to ensure they were not real ones.

In pleading guilty today, the assistant director also agreed to testify in the case at future trials.