Rockport man charged with slaying mother, grandparents, healthcare worker appears in court

Posted:  Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 6:00am

Story Location:
80 Common Street
Groton  Massachusetts
United States

AYER, MASS – Middlesex County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Marian Ryan and Groton Chief of Police Donald Palma Jr. said Sept. 11 that Orion Krause, 22, of Rockport, Maine, was arraigned today in Ayer District Court on four counts of murder in connection with the Friday, September 8, quadruple homicide on Common Street in Groton, Massachusetts. The victims were his mother, Elizabeth Lackey Krause, 60, his grandparents Frank Danby Lackey III , 89, and Elizabeth Lackey, 86, and their home healthcare worker, Bertha Parker, 68.

Judge Margaret Guzman ordered the defendant to undergo a mental health evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Police said Sept. 9 that at approximately 5:52 p.m., Sept. 8, they responded to a report of a person in need of assistance on Common Street. Upon arrival, investigators gathered information which led them to a second residence on Common Street. There they located four deceased individuals: an elderly male and female as well as two middle-aged women. Three of the bodies were found inside of the house and one was found outside. 

The preliminary investigation suggests that the cause of death of all of the decedents was blunt force trauma. 

The D.A.’s office has characterized it as “a tragic incident of family violence.” 

“The preliminary investigation suggests that the defendant traveled from Rockport to the Boston area on Thursday, September 7,” according to a news release from the D.A.’s office. “On Friday, September 8, the defendant's mother met the defendant and they traveled together to visit the defendant's grandparents at their Common Street home in Groton. At some point following his arrival at the home the defendant allegedly attacked four adults in and around the home causing fatal, blunt force injuries to the victims. Investigators removed a baseball bat from the yard that appears to have been used in the attack.

“The follow up investigation into this matter revealed that the defendant's mother had contacted Rockport Police on Thursday night concerned her son had fled the home and asking police to be on the lookout for the vehicle he was allegedly operating. The investigation further revealed that other individuals known to the defendant had also reached out to authorities on Friday after allegedly having a concerning conversation with the defendant.”

Camden-Rockport Police Chief Randy Gagne said Sept. 11 that he confirms what the Massachusett’s D.A.’s office released and declined to comment further, citing the case as an open investigation.

“Following the attack the defendant allegedly fled the home and was located by police in the yard of a nearby Common Street home,” said the D.A.’s office.

“The motive behind this alleged attack remains part of the open and ongoing investigation being conducted by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, the Groton Police Department and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.”

The next court date is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 30, or sooner, if the mental evaluation is completed an at earlier date. The Groton, Mass., police report remains impounded.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a press conference this afternoon that Orion Krause traveled to the Boston area and called his mother. She went to pick him up in Boston, and upon returning to Maine Friday they stopped in Groton.

Krause is a 2013 graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport. He studied jazz at Oberlin Conservatory, and attended Cityterm at the Masters School. In April, he performed his senior degree recital playing his own compositions on jazz drums.

During high school, he played drums for a student-band called Mostly Brothers and Company, acted in a number of plays, including Senior Cabaret, and he was recognized for a solo performance at Fiestaval and Heritage Music Festivals in Virginia.

Krause skied with the Nordic ski team and made the honor roll while at Camden Hills.

Krause’s mother, Buffy, is the wife of Alexander “Lexi” Krause, a longtime well-respected tuna fisherman who has moored his boats on Monhegan and in Rockport Harbor. 

Buffy graduated from the private boarding school Dana Hall, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with the Class of 1975. She and Lexi lived on Penobscot Bay islands before moving to Rockport with their young children.

Buffy was a dedicated member of the Rockport community, and active member of the Rockport Boat Club.

She was also a notable tennis player, competing in local fundraising events, such as the annual New Hope for Women Tennis Tournament. Friends have characterized her as a caring, loving and involved parent. She has worked with the Sunshine Foundation and other charitable organizations.

Buffy’s parents, Frank Danby Lackey III and Elizabeth (Cleveland) Lackey were married June 9, 1956 in Pelham Manor, N.Y., according to the archives of The New York Times.

Mrs. Lackey was a graduate of the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY, L'Ecole Brillantmont in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Connecticut College. She also held masters of divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge.

Mr. Lackey was a 1947 graduate of Phillips Andover Academy and later graduated from Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut. He went on to graduate from Columbia Business School. Additionally, he served in the United States Navy for three years.

 Mr. Lackey served as a trustee at the Chewonki Foundation from 1976 to 2003, and had been an honorary trustee since 2003, according to a statement issued by the Wiscasset-based environmental education organization on September 11.

“[Mr. Lackey] spent his career as an investment advisor and served as president of Spinnaker Capital in Boston. He played an important role building Chewonki's financial stability, creating the organization's first investment committee,” the statement said.

The Lackeys gave generously of time, spirit, and financial resources, according to the online records of numerous charitable organizations.

 Groton, population of around 10,000 - 11,000, is between Lowell and Fitchburg, about 40 miles from Boston.

Based on information learned at home of the decedents, investigators made their way to a second residence on Common Street, according to the news release.

Krause was found at that second, neighboring house, where he had sought help.

The Boston Globe (Groton Quadruple Murder Appears To Be Case Of ‘Tragic Family Violence’ ) and Lowell Sun (Groton neighbor: “He said, “I murdered four people”’) are reporting that Krause showed up at the neighbors’ house naked and muddied. According to the articles, he was very polite to the homeowners at the time, even asking the wife to open the door for him since his hands were dirty.

The Assistant District Attorneys assigned to this case are Thomas Brant and Dan Harren. These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the D.A.’s office said.


Related story

UPDATE: Rockport man arraigned in Massachusetts court, charged with four counts of murder


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