Orion Krause: Maine man pleads guilty for killing family members, says 'I freed them'

'I killed my family with a baseball bat,' Krause told responding Groton Police Department officers when he was arrested at the age of 22 in 2017


                            Orion Krause: Maine man pleads guilty for killing family members, says 'I freed them'
Orion Krause pleads guilty for killing family members (WCVB TV)
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GROTON, MASSACHUSETTS: A Maine man pleaded guilty to the 2017 murder of his grandparents, mother and a health care worker who was caring for his grandparents, with a baseball bat.

Orion Krause, 26, pleaded guilty to four counts of murder in the second degree in Lowell Superior Court before Judge Kenneth W Salinger on Wednesday, September 1. The defendant admittedly killed his 60-year-old mother Elizabeth Krause; his 89-year-old grandfather Frank Lackey; his 85-year-old grandmother Elizabeth Lackey; and 68-year-old caretaker Bertha Mae Parker. The plea deal comes nearly four years to the day of the September 8, 2017 massacre at the Lackey home.

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“I killed my family with a baseball bat,” Krause told responding Groton Police Department officers when he was arrested at the age of 22. The defendant was discovered sitting naked in a patio chair and covered in mud behind a neighbor’s house, police reports noted. “Orion started to sing quietly,” one of the responding officers wrote in the initial arrest report. “Orion then said, ‘I freed them.’”

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On Thursday, September 2, the convicted murderer was ashamed, as he told the court, “I pray we will be able to process it in the future — hopefully together." Krause also said he was in a “psychotic state” at the time of the brutal slayings and said the incident was an “insane thing.”

Bridgewater State Hospital's doctor's later diagnosed Krause with schizophrenia. However, he was determined competent to stand trial. One victim impact statement during the hearing was much more voluble and appeared to dismiss any sort of human excuse. “The utter brutality, the human indecency, the cruelty of these acts is beyond comprehension,” a woman who said she was the murderer’s aunt testified, according to The Lowell Sun. “These are acts that with the voracity, the ferocity, the complete cruelty that our loved ones met that day is a darkness that is beyond any theology, or any philosophy and maybe any psychology of understanding.”

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On the day of the murders, Krause went to his neighbor’s house and admitted to what he had just done. “He’s a little bit crazy and he keeps saying that he murdered four people,” the neighbor told a 911 dispatcher. “We don’t know who he is. I let him sit in the backyard. He’s just sitting in a chair but he, he needs help.”

Responding officers found Krause’s dead grandparents seated and facing the front window of their house. The defendant’s mother was also seated during her final moments and discovered inside the home as well, near her own parents. Parker, who was his grandparent's caretaker, was found dead outside their home.

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The Oberlin graduate called a former professor and expressed his desire to murder his family with golf clubs. In response, that professor attempted to call the police and the killer’s family. The calls came too late. Krause was originally charged with murder in the first degree but his plea deal and his lack of a former criminal history resulted in the second-degree murder convictions. “The resolution of this case today in no way can erase the incalculable loss felt by the family and friends of these victims,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement. “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.”

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