December 17, 2017
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‘Another person came out,’ father says of son accused of killing four

By Alex Acquisto, BDN Staff
Updated:
Josh Reynolds | AP | BDN
Josh Reynolds | AP | BDN
Orion Krause right, stands with his attorney Edward Wayland at Krause's arraignment in Ayer District Court in Ayer, Massachusetts, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Krause, of Rockport, Maine, was ordered held without bail at Bridgewater State Hospital pending a competency hearing at his arraignment on murder charges Monday in Ayer.

Orion Krause’s father said Thursday that the son his friends and family knew was not the same person who last week allegedly murdered his mother, grandparents and his grandparents’ caretaker.

“For people who knew my wife and who knew Orion, it’s like a math equation that doesn’t add up,” Alexander Krause said in his family’s Rockport home Thursday morning.

“I don’t know that we’ll ever have an answer.”

Krause’s 22-year-old son, Orion, was charged Monday with murder in the beating deaths of Elizabeth “Buffy” Krause, 60; her parents, Elizabeth “Esu” Lackey, 85, and her husband, Frank Danby “Dan” Lackey III, 89; and their home health aide, Bertha Mae Parker, 68, at the Lackeys’ home on Common Street in Groton, Massachusetts. Elizabeth Krause was Alexander Krause’s wife and Orion Krause’s mother.

Sitting Thursday morning on a bench in the foyer of his house, Alexander Krause said he hasn’t fully had the opportunity yet to grieve. Outside the open front door, bees could be heard buzzing in the garden.

His wife “loved this time of year,” he said.

“We’ve been lifetime partners. We did everything together — the garden, we built this house together,” he said.

One thing was certain: “She loved her son,” he said. “Orion needed more love, and she loved him to death.”

The two-story Krause family home sits atop a small hill, accessible by a long gravel driveway that winds through a tunnel of trees before it opens up to a large swath of land abundant with flowers, plants and a vegetable garden.

Sunlight poured onto the hardwood floors in the foyer as Krause talked. He had been alone Thursday, before a reporter arrived at his house, but his cellphone buzzed next to him with messages and voicemails from people contacting him to express their condolences.

Krause said in the past week he has been flooded with support from friends, family and members of the community.

During Buffy’s life, “she helped people who had tragic losses” in their lives, he said. “The irony contained therein is beyond belief.

“My wife was a person who cared for and loved everybody she knew,” Krause said, to the point where she would starve herself of attention.

Friends are holding a vigil Thursday evening at Beech Hill in Rockport — one of Buffy’s favorite places — but Krause said he doesn’t think he’ll be able to go.

“I can’t bear to see so many friends’ faces at once.”

Krause said he has a lot to process, and he expects it might take a lifetime to do so.

“I see my life path changing, not [just] because I’ve lost my wife,” he said, but because his focus will have to be on the importance of loving others and continuing to support his sons.

Orion and his twin brother, Cooper, are both musicians and enjoy playing guitar together, Krause said. In May, Orion graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. His family attended his senior recital in April, where Orion played jazz drums.

“I want it known that Orion, upon graduation, one of his teachers told us that he wasn’t a drummer, he was a musician,” Krause said.

Not only is Orion an accomplished drummer, “he’s a composer and a leader, as well as a player,” he said.

Before the Sept. 8 incident, Orion, his father said, was very close to joining a band and touring with them.

“His mother was so proud.”

After the slayings Friday of his mother, his grandparents and their caretaker in Groton, Orion showed up at a neighbor’s house asking for help, naked and splattered with blood and mud.

The neighbor called police, who then responded and found four bodies and a baseball bat at the Lackeys’ house.

Orion has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges and is being held in Massachusetts without bail. He will undergo psychological evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital before he appears in court again in late October.

Alexander Krause said some of the best advice he has been given from a friend is to continue communicating with Buffy.

“I’ve been talking to her,” he said.

He said his wife had been writing a book about her life’s work of helping others who had experienced tragedy in their lives, and that he now is grappling with a big question.

“Can I carry on her work for her? I think she would want me to do it,” Krause said.

He stood and walked over to a large painting his father had painted, now hanging on a wall of the foyer. It shows a gull in the midst of a turbulent, stormy ocean, almost overcome by the waves.

“Right now, I feel like that’s me,” he said. “I don’t know what the future will be. It’s so hard to imagine.

“What happened was not the Orion everybody knew. Another person came out of him,” he said quietly. “My sense of tragedy that he took the [life of the] person who most loved him in this world is so incomprehensible.”

Correction: In an earlier version of this article, Frank Danby Lackey III's name was misspelled.


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