Orion Krause appears in Middlesex County Superior Court in Massachusetts in April 2018 to plead not guilty to four murder charges stemming from the slayings of his mother, her parents and their caretaker. Boston Globe/Craig F. Walker

A court hearing in Massachusetts for a 25-year-old Rockport man accused of killing his mother, her parents and their caretaker in September 2017 has been postponed until August.

The next hearing for Orion Krause is scheduled for Aug. 24.

“I’m told that will be a meaningful event in terms of determining when and how the case will come to a conclusion,” Krause’s attorney, Edward Wayland, said this week.

A hearing had been scheduled for June 15, but was postponed because the Middlesex County Superior Court in Lowell, Mass., where it was to be held, was closed. The closure of courts because of the COVID-19 outbreak has delayed proceedings in Massachusetts.

The defense entered a not guilty plea based on lack of criminal responsibility due to mental disease or defect. The state conducted a forensic evaluation of Krause, but the results have not been released.

Krause could be found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a mental institution for an undetermined time. Otherwise, he will go to a jury trial.

Krause was indicted in March 2018 by a Middlesex County grand jury on four counts of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Krause has been held since his arrest Sept. 8, 2017, for the slayings of his 60-year-old mother, Elizabeth “Buffy” Krause, of Rockport; her parents Frank Darby Lackey III, 89, and Elizabeth Lackey, 85, both of Groton, Mass.; and the grandparents’ caretaker Bertha Mae Parker, 68, also of Groton.

According to police reports, Krause confessed to police that he killed his family with a baseball bat and said he “freed” them.

A judge ruled in October 2017 that Krause was competent to stand trial.

 

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