Krause murder trial set for May

By Stephen Betts | Dec 04, 2019
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 trial date has been scheduled for a 24-year-old Rockport man accused of the September 2017 murders of his mother, her parents, and their caretaker.

A trial date of May 18, 2020, has been scheduled for Orion Krause, according to the Middlesex County Superior Court in Lowell, Mass.

Defense attorney Edward Wayland said Tuesday, Dec. 3, however, the state has yet to perform its evaluation of the mental status of Krause.

The defense entered in March 2019 a not guilty plea based on lack of criminal responsibility due to mental disease or defect.

If the state's expert agrees with that assessment, then Krause would be found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a mental institution for an indeterminate time.

If the state's expert disagrees, the trial would be held and the jury would decide whether Krause was criminally responsible.

The next status conference hearing for the case is scheduled for Jan. 21.

Krause was indicted in March 2018 by a Middlesex County grand jury on four counts of first-degree murder.

First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Krause has been held in jail since his arrest Sept. 8, 2017, for the murder of his 60-year-old mother, Elizabeth "Buffy" Krause, of Rockport; her parents, Frank Darby Lackey III, 89, and Elizabeth Lackey, 85, both of 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 2017 that Krause was competent to stand trial.

Documents filed in court after his arrest detailed that his mother had called police from her home in Rockport the night before the murders, concerned about whether he might harm himself.

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

About 20 hours later, police were called to the Lackeys' home in Groton and found the bodies of the four victims.

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

Oberlin College Prof. Jamey Haddad reported that Krause stated he had "done something bad," and had stolen some money and his mother’s car. Krause stated to Haddad twice during the conversation, "I think I have to kill my mom." The professor's wife had called police in Maine after trying to reach Orion Krause's mother.

Police said Orion Krause had called his mother and said he was in Boston and needed  a ride home.

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 to tell the residents he had killed four people.

Krause repeated his statement to police that he had killed four people and identified who they were to police, according to the police report.

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

Krause was a 2013 graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport and graduated in May 2017 from Oberlin, 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.

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