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They avoided prison by a whisker

Two central Kentucky men are sentenced to probation in connection with a bizarre case in which a third man said he was forced to eat his beard after an argument.
/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

Two central Kentucky men were sentenced to probation in connection with a bizarre case in which a third man said he was forced to eat his beard after an argument.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported 47-year-old Troy Holt and 51-year-old James Hill were sentenced Tuesday in Anderson Circuit Court.

Harvey Westmoreland of Lawrenceburg had said Holt cut off his beard and forced him to eat it while Hill allegedly held a sickle blade to Westmoreland and his brother during the May 2009 incident.

Holt could not say why he made Westmoreland eat his beard other than that things "got out of control" after some heavy drinking.

He added, "I ain't got no excuses about what I done."

What started the assault is in dispute, the Herald-Leader reported. Westmoreland said it was over a riding mower that he sold to Holt. Holt said it was over a woman.

Hill had no comment after sentencing.

Holt and Hill were indicted on charges of terroristic threatening, unlawful imprisonment and misdemeanor assault, the Herald-Leader reported. The charges were amended to complicity on each count.

The charges against Holt will be dismissed if he does not break the law for five years and against Hill if he stays clean for four years, the Herald-Leader reported.

As a condition of their sentences, neither Holt nor Hill is to have contact with Westmoreland.

"There's no hard feelings," Westmoreland, 41, told the Herald-Leader in an interview at his home in Anderson County. "I mean, I ain't going to speak to them, and they better not pull in my driveway."

Asked what it was like to eat beard, Westmoreland told the Herald-Leader, "Well, did you ever chew on a sponge? That'd be about what it would be like."