Psych evaluation ordered for man who sought trial by combat

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HARLAN, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge has ordered a psychological evaluation of a Kansas man who asked the judge to let him engage in a sword fight with his ex-wife and her attorney so that he can “rend their souls” from their bodies.

David Ostrom, 40, of Paola, Kansas, said in a Jan. 3 court filing that his former wife, Bridgette Ostrom, 38, of Harlan, Iowa, and her attorney, Matthew Hudson, had “destroyed (him) legally.” The Ostroms have been embroiled in disputes over custody and visitation issues and property tax payments.

The judge had the power to let the parties “resolve our disputes on the field of battle, legally,” David Ostrom said, adding in his filing that trial by combat “has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States.”

“I think I’ve met Mr. Hudson’s absurdity with my own absurdity,” Ostrom said, adding that his former wife could choose her attorney to act as her champion.

Bridgette Ostrom subsequently asked the judge to suspend David Ostrom’s visitation rights and order him to undergo an evaluation. Judge Craig Dreismeier granted both of her requests last week.

“This conduct is concerning,” Dreismeier said in his ruling. “The content of the messages sent through email by David over the past few months is disturbing. David’s motion for trial by combat is disturbing. His reasons for filing the motion in order to get publicity is disturbing.”

David Ostrom told The Des Moines Register that he has an appointment scheduled with a psychologist. Ostrom said he can ask the judge to reverse the decision about contact with the children if the psychologist determines he’s not a threat to himself or his children. If he has to undergo treatment, Ostrom said, he must wait until the program is complete to make the same request.

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