'Unimaginable' crime: Rockport man held in killing of four

Suspect to undergo psychiatric evaluation, accused of killing mother, grandparents, caretaker
By Stephen Betts | Sep 11, 2017
Orion Krause

Ayer, Mass. — A judge has ordered a 22-year-old Rockport man to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and be held without bail until a hearing to determine if he is competent to stand trial for the murder of his mother, his grandparents and their caretaker.

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan held a news conference Monday afternoon outside the Groton Police Department in Groton, Mass., saying that investigators believe that Orion Krause used a baseball bat to kill his mother, Elizabeth "Buffy" Krause, 60, of Rockport; her parents, Frank Darby Lackey III, 89, and Elizabeth Lackey, 85, both of Common Street in Groton; and the grandparents' caretaker, Bertha Mae Parker, 68, of Groton.

The killings occurred late Friday afternoon, Sept. 8, at the Lackeys' home.

The bodies of Elizabeth Krause and her parents were located in the same area inside the home, while Parker's body was found outside, Ryan said.

A motive for the killings has not been revealed, and the police report about the case was sealed by Judge Margaret Guzman at a hearing in Ayer District Court in Ayer, Mass., held before the news conference.

Orion Krause will be held at Bridgewater State Hospital without bail, where he will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. He is next scheduled to appear in court Oct. 30, but could appear earlier if the competency evaluation is done before that date.

He is represented by attorney Edward Wayland of Boston.

The district attorney said the Rockport man left the family home Thursday evening and made a telephone call to his mother that raised unspecified concerns to the point that police in Rockport were called.

He left initially in his vehicle, but later called his mother from the Boston area saying he needed a ride back to Rockport.

His mother picked him up Friday at an unspecified location in the Boston area and while initially planning to return to Maine, instead decided to go to the grandparents' home in Groton, which is about 40 miles northwest of Boston, the district attorney said.

The prosecutor said Orion Krause made a telephone call Friday afternoon to someone he knew, which was of such a concern that the person -- whom she did not identify -- contacted family members of Krause's. Soon after, Groton police received a call from neighbors of the Lackeys reporting that the 22-year-old man was at their home.

Various media outlets in Massachusetts reported that the neighbors said Orion Krause arrived at their home covered in mud, with some blood on him, and admitted murdering four people.

While the district attorney did not identify who Orion Krause had called, one source said it was a professor he knew from Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio, where he had graduated in May.

The bat believed to be the murder weapon was recovered, the district attorney said.

Orion Krause grew up in Rockport, and graduated from Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport in 2013 before attending Oberlin, where he majored in music, specifically in jazz and drums.

He has no criminal record in Maine. Chief Randy Gagne of the Camden and Rockport departments said Monday that the Rockport department has had two involvements with Orion Krause, neither of which was criminal in nature. One was the call Thursday night from his mother concerned about his well-being and the other was a year ago. The chief said he could not offer any additional information on the prior call.

His mother -- then Elizabeth Lackey -- was a 1975 graduate of the private boarding school Dana Hall in Wellesley, Mass., according to a school website. She and her husband, Alexander "Lexi" Krause, were members of the Rockport Boat Club.

He was a fisherman off Monhegan before the family moved to Fisk Lane in Rockport in 1999. He is a captain with the Maine State Ferry Service, according to family friend Sherman Stanley.

Orion Krause was active in the Camden-Rockport schools from an early age. He was part of a group of fourth-grade students at the former Rockport Elementary School who raised money in 2005 to help victims of the catastrophic Southeast Asia tsunami.

He played basketball, ran cross-country and track while attending Camden-Rockport Middle School.

In middle school and high school, he became known for his musical talent.

When Camden Hills Regional High named him the visual and performing arts student of the month in November 2012, the school reported that Krause began playing music in fifth grade, when he studied the clarinet. In eighth grade, he decided to switch to percussion. This was primarily due to the influence of some of his favorite musicians and the video game Rock Band, according to the school. That year, he received his first drum set for Christmas. He joined the Camden Hills Jazz and Concert Band in his sophomore year.

He received the maestro award at Camden Hills in 2013 for a drum solo.

Some of his favorite artists that year included King Crimson, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, David Bromberg and the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Afrer graduating from Camden Hills in 2013, he continued his studies and participation in music, attending Oberlin Conservatory within Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, near Cleveland. The college's website describes Oberlin as "a place of intense energy and creativity, built on a foundation of academic, artistic and musical excellence."

Outside of college, in 2014, he was the drummer for the band Mostly Brothers & Company.

He held a jazz drum senior recital at Oberlin in April, according to the college's website. He graduated from Oberlin in May, according to Scott Wargo, director of media relations for the college. The spokesman said the school could not provide any other information on Krause.

Duryea Decker Griffith of Lincolnville was a classmate of Krause's and they were in the band together in high school. Decker Griffith said Sunday he saw Krause briefly Wednesday, Sept. 6, in Rockport. He said Krause was with his family.

"He was a really good guy. He was musically talented, smart, laid back, I would say cool," Decker Griffith said.

He said he was absolutely stunned by the news of Krause's arrest.

Camden Hills Band Director Nancy Rowe said Krause was a fabulous musician and a very nice, polite young man.

"He was top-notch in every way," Rowe said. "I'm stunned. This is unimaginable to me."

She said her heart goes out to his entire family.

A vigil was held Sunday night in Groton for the victims of the murders.

The Krause family issued  a statement Tuesday afternoon through attorney Edward Wayland of Boston who is representing Orion Krause.

"Members of the Krause family want to express their deepest sympathies to the family of Bertha Mae Parker. They (Krause family) know too well the pain they are experiencing today. They are also grateful to all who have shown them compassion and support including, particularly, the people of Groton and the Groton Police Department. Beyond that they will have no further comment at this time. They ask that the media respect their privacy."

"The family is equally appreciative of the support they have received in Rockport," the statement concluded.

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