22-Year-Old Oberlin Graduate Made 'Concerning' Phone Call Just Before Murdering 4

A baseball bat found at the scene is believed to have been the murder weapon.

By Benjamin H. Smith

New details are emerging in the case of a disturbed young man who apparently beat four people to death in Groton, Massachusetts. Twenty-two-year-old Orion Krause appeared in a neighbor’s backyard Friday evening, naked and covered in blood and dirt, saying “Help me please, I murdered four people.” Police soon found the bodies of his mother, maternal grandparents and a home health care worker in a house nearby, all dead from blunt force trauma. 

CBS Boston reports the day before the murders, Krause began acting erratically, a prelude to his violent rampage.

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan told reporters the trouble started last Thursday night when the recent graduate of Ohio’s prestigious Oberlin College & Conservatory abruptly left his Rockport, Maine home. His mother, 60-year-old Elizabeth Lackey Krause, who was known to friends as “Buffy,” was so concerned she called the Rockport police, who said they would keep an eye out for him.

The next morning Orion called his mother, saying he was in Boston, and asked her to come pick him up. On their way back home they visited Buffy’s parents; Frank Darby Lackey III, 89, and Elizabeth Lackey, 85, in the upscale Lowell suburb of Groton. While there, Orion made a disturbing phone call, which sent up red flags. As Ryan explained, “Our investigation reveals that at some point late on Friday afternoon, Mr. Krause made a phone call to an individual that is known to him and made statements that were concerning–concerning enough that that individual began to reach out to family members.”

At the same time the Lackey’s neighbor Wagner Alcocer called police to tell them about the naked, bloody young man in his backyard, Krause’s family members were calling the Groton Police Department to report his strange phone message.

When officers went to check in on the Lackeys, they made a grim discovery; outside their home lie the dead body of their home health care worker, 68-year-old Bertha Mae Parker. Inside the home they had owned since 1992 were the dead bodies of Frank and Elizabeth Lackey and their daughter Buffy. All four had died from blunt force trauma. A baseball bat found at the scene is believed to have been the murder weapon.

In court Monday, Ayer District Court Judge Margaret R. Guzman ordered Orion to be held without bail at Bridgewater State Hospital pending a hearing on his competency to stand trial on October 30. According to the Boston Herald, Krause showed little emotion at his arraignment, while a man in the back of the courtroom could be heard weeping.

A vigil was held in Groton’s Town Field Sunday afternoon for the victims. As reported in the Lowell Sun, Reverend Elea Kemler said, "Four people are dead, two of them elderly, killed by a man who was known and loved by them. We do not understand this.”

[Photo: WBZ-TV, Boston]

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