A 24-year-old Rockport man accused of killing his mother, her parents and their caretaker in September 2017 will go on trial in the spring.

Orion Krause’s trial is set to begin May 18 in Middlesex County Superior Court in Lowell, Massachusetts.

However, defense attorney Edward Wayland said Tuesday that the state has yet to evaluate Krause’s mental status. In March, the defense entered a not guilty plea based on lack of criminal responsibility due to mental disease or defect.

If the state’s expert agrees with that assessment, then Krause would be found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a mental institution for an indeterminate time. If the state’s expert disagrees, the trial would be held and the jury would decide whether Krause was criminally responsible.

The next status conference hearing for the case is scheduled for Jan. 21.

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

In March 2018, a Middlesex County grand jury indicted Krause on four counts of first-degree murder, with each carrying a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

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

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

Documents filed in court after his arrest detailed that his mother had called police from her home in Rockport the night before the murders, concerned about whether he might harm himself.

She told the dispatcher that her son was a “very mild soul,” and that there were no drugs involved.

About 20 hours later, police were called to the Lackeys’ home in Groton and found the bodies of the four victims.

An hour before their bodies were found, a professor with whom Orion Krause studied at Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio, phoned Rockport police to tell them that Krause had called to say he planned to kill his mother.

Oberlin College Prof. Jamey Haddad reported that Krause stated he had “done something bad,” and had stolen some money and his mother’s car. Krause stated to Haddad twice during the conversation, “I think I have to kill my mom.” The professor’s wife had called police in Maine after trying to reach Orion Krause’s mother.

Police said Orion Krause had called his mother and said he was in Boston and needed a ride home.

When his mother picked him up, she took him to her parents’ home in Groton, located about 40 miles northwest of Boston.

Groton police responded to a home in the neighborhood after Orion Krause had appeared – naked and covered in mud, with some blood on him – and told the neighbors that he had killed four people.

Krause repeated his statement to police that he had killed four people and identified who they were, police said.

Krause also told a nurse during a medical evaluation after his arrest that he used heroin, police said.

Krause is a 2013 graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport and graduated in May 2017 from Oberlin, where he studied music.

Friends said that Krause was a kind, musically gifted person.

Rockport police had one contact with Krause about a year before the killings, but the details of that matter have not been released. Rockport/Camden Police Chief Randy Gagne said it was not a criminal matter.

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