Nearly four years after a gruesome quadruple homicide in Groton, Mass., the killer behind the slayings has been sentenced.
Orion Krause, now 26, was a recent graduate of Oberlin College’s Conservatory of Music in 2017 when he beat his mother, grandparents and their caretaker to death. The talented jazz drummer from Rockport, Maine, pleaded guilty to the killings Wednesday, earning him a life sentence in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, according to a release from the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office.
On Sept. 8, 2017, while Krause was visiting family in Massachusetts, he picked up a baseball bat and murdered his mother, 60-year-old Elizabeth Krause; grandparents, 89-year-old Frank Lackey and 85-year-old Elizabeth Lackey; and his grandparents’ caretaker, 68-year-old Bertha Mae Parker.
After their slayings, Krause walked to a neighbor’s house, naked and covered in mud, and allegedly said, “Help me, please. Help me, please. I murdered four people,” The Boston Globe reported at the time.
According to court documents obtained by Portland Press Herald, the neighbor grabbed a patio chair for Krause, who sat down, quietly sang and said “I freed them.” © Provided by People Robert Mills/The Lowell Sun via AP Orion Krause
Police reports from 2017 say that authorities responding to the scene discovered Krause’s mother and grandparents seated in the kitchen with the television on, MassLive reports. The victims had suffered severe trauma to their heads.
Officers located Parker’s body facedown in a flower bed along the driveway, according to the outlet. She was the only victim who appeared to be attacked from behind.
The police reports allege that some officers excused themselves from the crime scene because it was too graphic, according to MassLive.
Early on in the trial, Krause pleaded not guilty due to insanity to four counts of first-degree murder, multiple news outlets report.
On Wednesday, after striking a plea deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to lesser charges of second-degree murder, allowing him eligibility for parole after serving 25 years. Prosecutors cited his lack of criminal record, age and mental health condition at the time of the killings for the lowered charges.
“The resolution of this case today in no way can erase the incalculable loss felt by the family and friends of these victims,” District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a release. “Following the 2017 murder, the entire Groton community mourned the loss of Elizabeth and Frank Lackey, Elizabeth Krause and Bertha Mae Parker. We continue to have them in our thoughts today as this case comes to a close.”