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Murder trial of Rockport man set for September

By Stephen Betts | Apr 20, 2021
Middlesex County Superior Court in Lowell, Mass.

A trial for the 26-year-old Orion Krause of Rockport, accused of the September 2017 murders of his mother, her parents and their caretaker, has once again been scheduled.

The jury trial is tentatively scheduled to begin Sept. 7 — a day short of four years from when the killings occurred in Groton, Mass.

Krause's defense attorney Edward Wayland said a pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2, and he believes the trial will actually be held this time. The trial has been tentatively scheduled in the past but postponed multiple times, mainly due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The defense entered in March 2019 a not-guilty plea for Krause based on lack of criminal responsibility due to mental disease or defect. The state conducted a forensic evaluation of Krause.

While the results of that forensic report has not been released, if the prosecution agreed he was not criminally responsible, a trial would not have been scheduled. A telephone message was left April 20 with the prosecutor in the case — Thomas Brandt.

The case is being heard in Middlesex County Superior Court in Lowell, Mass.

If the state's expert agrees with the defense's assessment, 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.

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 murders 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 killed his family with a baseball bat, saying he "freed" them.

A judge ruled in October 2017 that Krause was competent to stand trial.

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