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Forced beard-eating case back in court

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Domestic violence order conviction could land Holt in prison

By BEN CARLSON

The man who last year forced another man to eat his own beard could be headed for prison.
Troy Holt, 48, already on probation for the beard-eating incident, has since been convicted of violating a domestic violence order. He has also apparently failed to make $570 in court-ordered restitution to Willisburg Road Harvey Westmoreland, the man forced to eat his beard.
Both violate the diversionary program to which he was sentenced last November after pleading guilty to unlawful imprisonment, terroristic threatening and four-degree assault of Westmoreland and his brother, Joseph.
Now, Holt could be facing a five-year prison sentence when he appears June 21 for a revocation hearing in Anderson Circuit Court in front of Judge Charles Hickman. That sentence, along with formal probation, was what the commonwealth’s attorney’s office recommended following Holt’s guilty plea.
Holt was convicted March 3 for violating a domestic violence order issued against his wife, Tabitha. That order required him to stay at least 500 feet away from his wife, but he violated it Jan. 18 when he met with her on North Main Street.
Although convicted, District Court Judge Donna Dutton gave Holt a conditional discharge and ordered him to comply with the domestic violence order and to drive only if licensed and insured.
The Anderson News first reported the beard incident, which went on to make TV and newspaper headlines across the country.
Holt, along with James Hill, 51, apparently became upset when Harvey Westmoreland attempted to sell Holt a lawnmower.
“Troy offered to buy it from me for $250. I paid $20 for it,” Harvey Westmoreland is quoted as saying. “He thought I was trying to cheat him. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, there were knives and guns and everything just went haywire.
“Everyone was drinking then all hell broke loose.”
According to information on file in Anderson Circuit Court, Holt and Hill assaulted and threatened the Westmorelands for about 30 minutes before finally agreeing to let them leave. They returned, though, so “everyone could talk it out,” only to be forced into a corner by Holt and Hill.
According to courthouse records, Holt put a knife to the Westmorelands’ throats and told them “they wouldn’t see the morning,” if they went to the police.
The Westmorelands left and called the police. A sheriff’s deputy and two state troopers responded, going first to Holt’s residence.
According to court documents, Holt’s wife attempted to wake him, but couldn’t, so the police officers entered his room and woke him.
Holt told officers he had no idea what they were talking about, but he was detained anyway.
The officers then went to Hill’s residence, and he also claimed his innocence before being detained.
Two witnesses told officers what happened, though, including one who said that the last thing he saw was Holt cutting off Harvey Westmoreland’s beard and making him eat it.