A man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a quadruple murder with a baseball bat of his mother, two grandparents and their caretaker at a Massachusetts' home in 2017.
Orion Krause, 26, of Rockport, Maine, pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree murder in Lowell Superior Court, according to a statement from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.
He killed his mother, Elizabeth Krause, 60, of Rockport; grandparents Frank Lackey, 89, and Elizabeth Lackey, 85, of Groton, Massachusetts; and Bertha Mae Parker, 68, of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, officials said. The slayings occurred at Orion Krause's grandparents’ home on Sept. 8, 2017, officials said.
The four victims died from injuries to their brains and skulls from blunt-force trauma, prosecutors said.
Krause had originally faced four counts of first-degree murder but admitted to the lesser charges under the plea deal with prosecutors. The deal took into consideration Krause’s lack of criminal record, his age and his mental health condition at the time of the killings, prosecutors said.
He was deemed competent to stand trial in 2018.
Krause was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with parole eligibility at 25 years.
Krause, a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio, apologized in court and told the judge he was in a “psychotic state” at the time.
"I pray we will be able to process it in the future — hopefully together,” he said, WCVB in Boston reported.
"The resolution of this case today in no way can erase the incalculable loss felt by the family and friends of these victims," Ryan said in the 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."
Groton Police Chief Michael Luth said in the same statement: “While this conviction doesn’t change the horrific events that occurred on September 8, 2017, we hope that this verdict today provides the family some peace.”
Krause’s attorney, Edward Wayland, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Krause contacted one of his former professors shortly before the killings and told him of his intentions to kill his mother. The professor called police, officials have said.
Authorities said he had traveled from his Maine home to Groton, about 40 miles northwest of Boston, on Sept. 7, 2017. He met his mother the next day, and they traveled to meet his grandparents at their Groton home.
On the day of the slayings, Groton police responded shortly before 6 p.m. to a report of a person in need of assistance. Once on scene, investigators gathered information which led them to a second nearby home where they located the four victims, officials said.
Krause fatally attacked them “using a baseball bat,” authorities said.
Krause, who was 22 at the time of the slayings, was naked and covered in mud and cuts when officers found him at a home near where his grandparents lived, according to court documents. He told officers, “I murdered four people.” After police wrapped him in a sheet, he began to sing quietly, according to records.