Prosecutors in New Mexico are pursuing accountability for the 2021 death of a cinematographer who was shot dead by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal for the Western film Rust.

Before Baldwin’s case progresses, the armourer on the set is being tried on charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence. Jury selection in Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s trial started on Wednesday in Santa Fe.

Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintains she is not directly to blame for Halyna Hutchins’s death. Baldwin has also pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge in a separate case.

Alec Baldwin
The evidence given will have implications for Alec Baldwin’s separate case (Seth Wenig/AP)

The process for selecting 12 jurors began with a pool of 70 residents from the Santa Fe area, including non-English speakers, a welder, a teacher, a graduate student and a mother who provides for six children.

A prosecutor began with questions for jurors about their exposure to intensive media coverage and social media chatter about the case.

Prosecutors plan to present evidence that Gutierrez-Reed loaded a live round into the gun that killed Ms Hutchins after unknowingly bringing live ammunition onto a set where it was expressly prohibited. They contend the armourer missed multiple opportunities to ensure safety on the movie set.

Defence lawyers have said they have evidence that will show otherwise.

The evidence has implications for Baldwin, who was pointing a gun at Ms Hutchins during an October 2021 rehearsal outside Santa Fe when she was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded.