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Rockport man indicted for murder of mother, grandparents, caretaker

By Stephen Betts | Apr 05, 2018
Photo by: The Sun of Lowell/Robert Mills Orion Krause, right, stands with his attorney, Edward Wayland, at a September 2017 court hearing.

Lowell, Mass. — A 22-year-old Rockport man is expected to be arraigned next week for the murder of his mother, grandparents and the grandparents' caretaker.

Orion Krause was indicted March 29 by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on four counts of first-degree murder, Meghan Kelly, communications director for the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, said Thursday, April 5.

First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, Kelly said. The arraignment is scheduled for April 11.

Krause has been held in jail since his arrest Sept. 8 for the murder of his 60-year-old mother, Elizabeth "Buffy" Krause; her parents, Frank Darby Lackey III, 89, and Elizabeth Lackey, 85, both of Common Street in Groton, Mass.; and the grandparents' caretaker, Bertha Mae Parker, 68, also of Groton.

According to police reports, Krause confessed to police that he had killed his family with a baseball bat and said he had "freed" them.

A judge ruled in October that Krause was competent to stand trial.

Documents filed in court last year detailed that his mother had called police the night before the murders, concerned about whether he might harm himself, according to transcripts from her call.

She made the call at 9:41 p.m. Sept. 7 from her home in Rockport.

About 20 hours later, police were called to a home in Groton, Mass., and found the bodies of the four victims at the home of Elizabeth Krause's parents.

An hour before their bodies were found, a professor with whom 22-year-old Orion Krause studied at Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio, called Rockport police to tell them that Krause had called to say he planned to kill his mother.

Oberlin College Professor Jamey Haddad reported that “Krause stated to [Haddad] that he ‘had done something bad,’ and had stolen some money and his mother’s car,” Moore wrote in his report of the call from Gray. “Krause stated to Haddad twice during the conversation, ‘I think I have to kill my mom.’ Haddad asked Krause to repeat himself, and that was when Krause stated it a second time," according to the Press Herald.

Also released by the Knox County communications center, at the request of the Portland Press Herald, was a call made to local police in Rockport just after 5 p.m. Sept. 8 by a woman named Mary Gray in Oberlin, Ohio.

Gray told Rockport Sgt. James Moore that her husband, Oberlin College professor Jamey Haddad, had just gotten a call from former student Krause. Gray told Moore she tried to call the Krauses’ home in Rockport, but no one answered.

Orion Krause also told a nurse during a medical evaluation that he used heroin, according to the police reports.

In the transcript of his mother's call to the dispatch center Sept. 7, Elizabeth Krause expressed concern about her son, saying he had been troubled.

She later told the dispatcher that her son was a "very mild soul," and that there were no drugs involved.

Police said Orion Krause later called his mother and said he was in Boston and needed  a ride home. Police have not said what happened to the car he had been driving.

When his mother picked him up, she took him to her parents' home in Groton, located about 40 miles northwest of Boston.

Orion Krause stopped, naked, covered in mud, with some blood on him, at a home in his grandparents' neighborhood on Common Street to tell the resident he had killed four people.

Groton police were called shortly before 6 p.m. Sept. 8 and responded. Krause repeated his statement that he had killed four people and identified who they were to police, according to the police report.

Krause is a 2013 graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport and graduated in May from Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio, where he studied music.

Friends said that Krause was a kind, musically gifted person.

Rockport police had one contact with Krause about a year before the killings, but the details of that matter have not been released. Rockport/Camden Police Chief Randy Gagne said it was not a criminal matter.

Krause's defense attorney, Edward Wayland, said in September that his client's mental state at the time of his arrest was an open question.

"No one should make any assumptions about anything he is alleged to have said, including that any of it was actually true. Determining the truth is what the legal process is designed to do and it has barely begun to do it," the attorney from Boston said in his statement at the time.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Apr 05, 2018 10:36

Whatever his state of mind was at the time it was anything but normal. It is just a terrible situation. The grief for this family is unimaginable.

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