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Man forced to eat his own beard

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Two plead guilty to unlawful imprisonment, expected to receive probation

By BEN CARLSON

A Lawrenceburg man accused of cutting off another man’s beard and forcing him to eat it is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 16 in Anderson Circuit Court.

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Two men were charged in the bizarre incident, which occurred earlier this year on Willisburg Road.
Troy Holt, 47, and James Hill, 51, were each charged with first-degree unlawful imprisonment, third-degree terroristic threatening and two counts each of fourth-degree assault for allegedly holding two brothers at knifepoint May 8 at Holt’s Willisburg Road residence.
Holt allegedly used a pocketknife to cut shirts worn by Harvey and Joseph Westmoreland, held the knife to their throats and threatened to kill them if they called the police. Hill allegedly wielded a sickle blade at the men.
It was unclear what started the altercation. One statement on file in Anderson County Circuit Court said an argument ensued over a woman. Another claimed it started over a lawnmower.
Joseph Westmoreland was apparently working at Holt’s residence, cleaning out stalls, when the incident began.
“Everyone was drinking then all hell broke loose,” he said in a statement to police.
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 up.
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.
Holt and Hill have already pleaded guilty to the charges, and are expected to be placed on probation when they appear Tuesday in Anderson Circuit Court, pending Judge Charles Hickman’s approval.
Hill would be sentenced to four years probation, and Holt would receive five, according to court documents.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.