ROCKPORT — Many in the Rockport and Camden communities are roiling in disbelief that the Orion Krause that they knew could be accused of killing four people, including his mother and grandparents.
“You never think something so horrific can happen” involving people so close to home, Rockport Harbormaster Abbie Leonard said Tuesday.
Krause, 22, was charged on Monday with the Friday murders of his mother, Elizabeth “Buffy” Krause, 60; her parents and Krause’s grandparents, Elizabeth “Esu” Lackey, 85, and her husband, Frank Darby Lackey III, 89; and their caretaker, Bertha Mae Parker, 68, at the Lackeys’ residence on Common Street in Groton, Massachusetts.
After the arraignment, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said during a news conference that all four victims had been beaten to death. A baseball bat had been found on the premises.
The Rockport native has been ordered to undergo psychological evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital. He is expected back in court on Oct. 30.
Krause attended Camden Hills Regional High School, where he played basketball and ran cross country and track. He graduated in 2013, and went on to study at Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, where, as recently as April, he posted on Facebook about performing on the jazz drums senior recital.
As the news has spread through the picturesque adjacent seaside communities, whose pooled year-round population hovers around 9,000, many still cannot fathom what has happened.
Leonard has known Krause’s father, Alexander, known by many as “Lexie,” for years. He used to operate a fishing boat out of the Rockport harbor and still owns a mooring there, she said.
Lexie, like any proud father, talked about his kids, Orion and his twin brother, regularly and enthusiastically, she said.
“You really couldn’t ask for a nicer guy,” Leonard said of Lexie. She recalled the Krause family as loving, and participating in events together, like stringing lights throughout the harbor during the annual Holiday on the Harbor event.
“As far as what he was to the community, [he was] solid, a really likeable kid,” she said.
According to prosecutors, Krause apparently left his home in Rockport on Thursday evening. His mother, concerned about where he might be going, for reasons that have not been made public, called the Rockport Police Department and described the car that Krause was driving, prosecutors said.
Krause contacted his mother Friday morning to let her know that he had driven to the Boston area, they said. Later that morning, he phoned her again, asking if she could come pick him up and drive him home, and she agreed, prosecutors said.
“Originally the plan was to return home. At some point a decision was made to visit Orion’s grandparents in Groton,” District Attorney Ryan said during the Monday news conference.
Around the time of the incident, Krause made a phone call to someone he knew and said something so troubling that the individual began calling other members of Krause’s family members, prosecutors said.
Some of those family members called the Groton police who, at approximately the same time, were responding to a call from a neighbor on Common Street, Ryan said.
That neighbor, Wagner Alcocer, 52, told the Associated Press that Krause showed up at his backdoor Friday evening naked and muddy, and calmly informed Alcocer that he had “just murdered four people.”
Krause’s eyes were “very red,” and he had cuts and bits of blood on his body but was unarmed and appeared vulnerable, Alcocer said.
Recalling the Krause she knew in middle and high school, Five Town School District Superintendent of Schools Maria Libby said Tuesday afternoon that there was never any remote indication that Krause could be capable of what he is accused of doing.
“I can tell you there were absolutely no warning signs,” she said. “He was a fantastic person and student, a happy, kind, mild-mannered, smart kid, [and] he came from a great family.”
Leonard, the harbormaster, said she couldn’t comprehend what had happened.
“I read [the news] over and over again, just trying to wrap my head around it,” she said. “This is just stranger than fiction.”