Orion Krause (file photo)
Orion Krause (file photo)

WOBURN -- The attorney for Orion Krause, the 22-year-old Maine man accused of using a baseball bat to kill his mother, maternal grandparents, and a home healthcare worker in Groton last year, said Wednesday he will likely pursue an insanity defense.

Attorney Edward Wayland made the comments just after Krause was arraigned on four counts of murder in Middlesex Superior Court.

"At the end of the day, I think mental illness will be the explanation for this event," Wayland said.

For the first time in any of his court appearances, Krause showed emotion and appeared to choke up as he answered "not guilty" to an indictment alleging he killed his mother.

Magistrate Michael Sullivan ordered Krause continue to be held without bail at Bridgewater State Hospital after Assistant District Attorney Thomas Brant recounted the allegations in the case.

Krause, of Rockport, Maine, left his family's home on Sept. 7, prompting his family to contact police out of concern for his well-being, prosecutors have said.

On the morning of Sept. 8, Krause contacted his mother, Elizabeth Krause, 60, and told her he was in the Greater Boston area and needed a ride home, which prompted his mother to come pick him up, prosecutors have said.

The two then went to Groton to visit Krause's maternal grandparents, Frank Lackey, 89, and Elizabeth Lackey, 85, who lived at 80 Common St.


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Brant revealed for the first time on Friday that the four ate a meal together at some point on the afternoon of Sept. 8, with Elizabeth Krause sitting on a kitchen stool as her parents sat in reclining chairs that they were largely confined to due to their advancing ages and condition.

Brant said home health care worker Bertha Mae Parker, 68, who provided the Lackey's with nearly 24-hour care, was upstairs in the home at some point when Krause obtained a baseball bat and attacked his mother and grandparents.

Brant said Krause struck his mother and grandparents in the head with a baseball bat.

"The wounds I would describe, mildly, as horrific," Brant said.

Brant said Parker then came downstairs at some point, and was "trying to get away" when Krause caught up with her in the home's driveway and struck her in the back of the head with the bat.

Brant said blood at the scene indicated that Krause then drug her body into a flower bed.

Krause then went into a wooded area behind the home while removing his clothes, and passed through several areas of thick briars as he walked, naked, to a neighbor's home at 42 Common St., according to police reports.

Krause showed up naked on the porch of that home, where he told homeowner Wagner Alcocer that he had just killed four people, according to police reports.

Police found Krause sitting on a chair on that porch, covered in scratches, under a blanket Alcocer gave him.

Krause repeated his statement that he killed four people to police, identified the victims, and at one point sang and said "I freed them," according to police reports.

Police quickly responded to 80 Common St., and found the bodies. Krause was arrested at the scene.

Brant said Wednesday that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined all four victims died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Krause has been held without bail at Bridgewater State Hospital since his arrest. In October, staff there determined that Krause is competent to stand trial.

Krause's father, Alexander Krause, attended the arraignment in Superior Court, as did Krause's twin brother and several other people who could not immediately be identified. They declined to comment.

Upon entering the dock in the courtroom, Krause immediately looked to those family members.

A clerk read all four murder indictments aloud and asked Krause how he pled to each individual indictment.

Krause flatly said "not guilty" when asked about killing his grandparents and Parker, but choked up as he said "not guilty" to the indictment alleging he killed his mother.

Wayland said his client is "doing well" in Bridgewater, and said his client understands what is happening with the case. He declined to comment on whether Krause has expressed remorse, or on exactly what type of mental illness his client allegedly suffers from.

Krause graduated from the prestigious Oberlin College in Ohio, where he studied music, just months before the killings.

Krause is due back court on May 8, for a scheduling conference in Lowell Superior Court.

Follow Robert Mills on Twitter @Robert_Mills