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

A Rockport man accused in the brutal killing of four people in Massachusetts in 2017 has pleaded guilty to multiple charges of second-degree murder.

Orion Krause, 26, was accused of beating his mother, her parents and a family health aide to their deaths with a baseball bat in  Groton, Massachusetts, in 2017. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to four charges of second degree murder at the Lowell Superior Court, according to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office.

Judge Kenneth W. Salinger sentenced Krause to life in prison with parole eligibility at 25 years.

Krause was scheduled to go to trial this month, after years of delays. However, his attorney, Edward Wayland, said Krause ultimately pleaded guilty to avoid the risk of being sentenced to life without parole on any of the four murder charges.

Wayland was going to pursue an insanity defense at trial.

“He had a strong argument to make for insanity, but it is asking a lot to expect a jury to say ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ four times in a row. This plea makes him parole eligible after serving 25 years,” Wayland said Wednesday evening.

By agreeing to a plea deal, Wayland said it also spared witnesses and family members of the victims the stress of having to go through a trial.

Krause was arrested on Sept. 8, 2017, after he appeared naked and covered in mud at a neighbor’s house in Groton and said “I need help. I murdered four people.”

Krause also allegedly had called a former Oberlin College professor that he had studied under moments before the murders occurred to tell the professor that felt he had to kill his mother. Krause was a 2017 graduate of Oberlin College & Conservatory, a liberal arts college and music conservatory in Ohio.

On March 7, 2019, Krause pleaded not guilty due to insanity, which allowed for further mental health evaluations.

Krause killed 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 his grandparent’s house on Common Street in Groton.

“The whole case was tragic for everyone it touched. Now, hopefully, everyone can start to move on from it. To the degree that is possible,” Wayland said.

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.