Orion Krause stands with his attorney Edward Wayland at Krause's arraignment in Ayer District Court in Ayer, Mass., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Credit: Josh Reynolds | AP

An attorney for Orion Krause — the Rockport man accused of the brutal 2017 murders of his mother, grandparents and a caretaker — entered an insanity plea on behalf of his client Thursday.

Defense attorney Edward Wayland said in an email that he notified prosecutors in Massachusetts, where the alleged crime took place, of his intention to argue Krause is not criminally responsible because of mental illness, a move that will delay the man’s trial to allow for further mental evaluations.

The trial had been scheduled to begin April 22. Instead a status conference will take place that day, Wayland said.

The insanity defense has been expected since April of last year, when Krause pled not guilty and Wayland told the BDN “mental illness is the entire explanation for this tragedy.”

Krause was charged with four counts of murder in the beating deaths of his mother, Elizabeth “Buffy” Krause, 60; her parents, Elizabeth “Esu” Lackey, 85, and Frank Danby “Dan” Lackey III, 89; and their home health aide, Bertha Mae Parker, 68, at the Lackeys’ house on Common Street in Groton, Massachusetts.

If conviction on all charges, Krause faces a maximum of four life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Krause allegedly admitted to investigators that he committed the killings with a baseball bat at his grandparents’ home, according to police reports from the Sept. 8, 2017 incident.

Police found the bodies of Krause’s mother and grandparents sitting in chairs in the kitchen. Parker’s body was found in a flower bed, according to the report.

Krause allegedly told investigators that he “freed them.”

On the night of the killings, Krause allegedly called a former college professor and said, “I think I have to kill my mom.”

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.