A woman is overcome with emotion during a vigil on Groton Town Field Sunday afternoon for the four people slain at a home on Common Street Friday.
A woman is overcome with emotion during a vigil on Groton Town Field Sunday afternoon for the four people slain at a home on Common Street Friday. (SUN / AARON CURTIS)

GROTON -- As the Christian hymn "Amazing Grace" flowed through speakers at Town Field late Sunday afternoon, around 200 Groton residents strolled across the wide-open park grounds.

They gathered in a massive group near the park gazebo where the music originated. Some embraced those near them, while others wore ribbons in honor of those they were there to remember.

The vigil, led by ministers in the community and representatives of town government, was organized in the wake of the death of four people who were allegedly slain by 22-year-old Orion Krause on Friday.

Police arrested Krause, a recent graduate of Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, in the murder of an elderly couple and two others who were found dead at a home at 80 Common St.

Orion Krause in his 2013 graduation photo from Camden Hills Regional High in Rockport, Maine.COURTESY OF COURIER GAZETTE
Orion Krause in his 2013 graduation photo from Camden Hills Regional High in Rockport, Maine. COURTESY OF COURIER GAZETTE
Krause, of Rockport, Maine, has been charged with four counts of murder, according to a statement Sunday by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.

The identification of the victims continues to be withheld pending positive identification by the Office of the Medical Examiner and notification of family members, according to the district attorney. The Boston Globe identified one of the victims as Bertha Mae Parker, 68, a caretaker for the couple who lived in the home.

"Four people are dead," the Rev. Elea Kemler, the minister of the First Parish Church of Groton, said to Sunday's crowd. "Two of them elderly, killed by a man who was known and loved by them. We do not understand this.


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"We need to hold in our hearts the remaining members of that family and all of their loved ones," she continued. "We also need to hold in our hearts the young man who committed these acts because he is 22 years old and something went terribly wrong in order for this to happen, and we did not know so we could not even try to prevent it or to try to help."

Groton Selectman Josh Degen called the horrific incident an opportunity for the community to band together.

The Rev. Gail Miller, pastor of Union Congregational Church in Groton, speaks during Sunday s vigil at Town Field for the four people slain Friday.
The Rev. Gail Miller, pastor of Union Congregational Church in Groton, speaks during Sunday s vigil at Town Field for the four people slain Friday. Listening at right is the Rev. Elea Kemler, minister of First Parish Church of Groton. At left is Josh Degen, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. (SUN / David H. Brow)

"We have to care about each other as neighbors," he said. "People you don't know, you should wave at them. You should look in on your neighbors and care about them."

"I guess all I can say is that we have to look in the wake of death that life must go on and in order for life to go on, we have to live it to our fullest," the selectman added.

In the crowd was Joe and Gilda Twoney, who said they were shocked when they initially heard the news of the brutal murders. But when it came to Sunday's large vigil turnout, they weren't surprised by the community's display of harmony. They had experienced it themselves roughly 20 years ago.

On July 15, 1997, their teenage son Peter Twomey died in a car crash.

"The town of Groton .

Orion Krause in an undated photo from his Facebook page.
Orion Krause in an undated photo from his Facebook page.
..," Joe Twomey began.

"Carried us," his wife finished.

"The town of Groton carried us just like they will carry any survivors of this family," Joe Twomey added.

They pointed out that they live roughly 500 yards from the home on Commons Street where the brutal crime occurred but they do not know the names of those who lived there.

Assessors' records list the owners of the house, built in 1900, as Frank Danby Lackey III and Elizabeth Lackey. They are in their late 80s.

As the crowd dispersed on Sunday, they were asked to take a candle. Kemler told the group to light it "when the darkness comes."

"And may that tiny flame be a reminder that we are neighbors and that we are friends," she added. "We are not strangers to one another, and when we come together, we are strong enough to overcome any obstacle."

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis.