AYER, Mass. — The 22-year-old Rockport man accused of killing three family members and a caretaker in Groton, Massachusetts, has been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation and is being held without bail.

Orion Krause appeared Monday in Ayer District Court, where Judge Margaret R. Guzman entered not-guilty pleas for him on the four counts of murder. Krause did not speak during the brief appearance.

He is accused of killing his mother, Elizabeth “Buffy” Krause, 62, two of his grandparents, Frank Darby Lackey III, 89, and Elizabeth “Esu” Lackey, 85, and a caretaker, Bertha Mae Parker, 68, at the Lackeys’ home in Groton, said Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

All of the victims were bludgeoned to death, Ryan said. Police found a baseball bat on the property.

Prosecutors from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office have requested that the preliminary police reports be impounded from public view.

Krause is due back in court Oct. 30.

Citing the ongoing investigation, Ryan declined to discuss any possible motive for the killings, but provided some new details about the sequence of events that led up to the deaths.

Officers escort Orion Krause, covered in a white sheet, to a police vehicle Friday in Groton, Mass. A neighbor provided the sheet after Krause came to his door, naked and bloody. Associated Press/Submitted photo

Ryan said Krause suddenly left Rockport on Thursday evening, alarming his mother. She called Rockport police to report the car that Krause was driving, but she was reassured the next morning when Krause called her to say he was OK and that he had traveled to Greater Boston.

Later that morning, Krause called his family again to ask for a ride back to Maine, and his mother agreed. It wasn’t clear Monday why Krause couldn’t return to Maine in the car he was driving Thursday night.

“The original plan was for them to return back to the family home,” Ryan said. “At some point, the decision was made to go and visit Orion’s grandparents.”

Ryan also said Krause called an unidentified person by phone Friday and made statements that prompted the recipient to alert other Krause family members, who in turn called Groton police.

According to a law enforcement official who spoke to the Courier-Gazette in Rockland, Krause called a professor at Oberlin College & Conservatory in Ohio, the school he graduated from in May. The official was not authorized to disclose the information and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Around the same time that family members called police Friday evening, Krause showed up at the door of his grandparents’ neighbor, naked and covered in mud and blood.

The neighbor, Wagner Alcocer, 52, told officials the suspect showed up at his back door and calmly told Alcocer that he “just murdered four people.”

Alcocer told The Associated Press that Krause’s eyes were “very red” and he had cuts on his body and blood on his knee and above one eye, but he was unarmed and seemed vulnerable. Alcocer said he contacted authorities and gave the two officers who responded a sheet to cover Krause, who was led away after being questioned.

A group of people who appeared to be Krause’s relatives sat at the rear of the courtroom Monday near a contingent of Groton police officers, who escorted the group out of the courthouse amid a flurry of questions from more than a dozen reporters and TV crews.

They left a nearby parking lot in two BMWs without making any statements.

Krause grew up in Rockport and was involved in Camden-Rockport school activities from an early age. He played basketball and ran cross-country and track while attending Camden-Rockport Middle School, where he started to become known for his musical talent. After graduating in 2013, Krause continued his music studies at Oberlin Conservatory.

Krause’s family lived on Monhegan Island, where his father was a lobsterman, before they moved to Rockport. His father, Alexander “Lexi” Krause, is now a captain for the Maine State Ferry Service. Elizabeth Krause was a stay-at-home mother and community volunteer.

Frank and Elizabeth Lackey had owned the Groton home where the killings occurred since 1992.

Orion Krause has no criminal record in Maine.

Chief Randy Gagne of the Camden and Rockport departments said Monday that the Rockport Police Department has had two prior calls involving Orion Krause, neither of them criminal in nature, the Courier-Gazette reported. One was the call Thursday night when his mother was concerned about his well-being, and the other was a year ago. The chief said he could not offer any information about the prior call.

Courier-Gazette Staff Writer Stephen Betts contributed to this report.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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