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

Orion Krause was arraigned in Middlesex County Superior Court in Massachusetts on Wednesday in the deaths of four people, including his mother and grandparents. Boston Globe/Craig F. Walker

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 and the case got passed over in the court in Woburn. The closure of courts to the COVID-19 outbreak delayed proceedings in Massachusetts.

The defense entered in March 2019 a not guilty plea based on a lack of criminal responsibility due to mental disease or defect. The state conducted a forensic evaluation of Krause but the results of the evaluation have not been released.

If the state’s expert agrees with the defense’s assessment, 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.

Krause was indicted in March 2018 by a Middlesex County grand jury on four counts of first-degree murder.

First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Krause has been held in jail since his arrest Sept. 8, 2017, for the murders 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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