Burnet County Judge apologizes for tree and rope Facebook post

With her grandchildren in town for thanksgiving Diana Hudson brought them to town square in Burnet to collect pecans.  Harvesting what had fallen from the trees was a lot easier than trying to understand a recent comment made by the County Judge.

"I mean, we're not back to that days, I would hope that we are not there,” said Hudson.

It all started on the Facebook page of County Judge James Oakley. He posted, “Time for a tree and a rope."

A screen shot was taken by James Walker before Oakley deleted it. The comment was in reference to the recent arrest of Otis McKane, the man charged with Sunday's murder of San Antonio police detective Benjamin Marconi.

Judge Oakley's comment was immediately condemned as being racist. The phone at his office Wednesday morning was ringing nonstop with complaints.  Oakley issued a statement describing his comment as "off-the-cuff ... curt and harsh."

He was not in his office Wednesday, but he did speak with FOX 7 by phone.

"I certainly apologize for the way I expressed myself,” said Judge Oakley.

Judge Oakley told FOX 7 he was expressing a personal view and was not posting as the county's top executive.

"I in no means made, wanted that, to ever think about that, being anything to do with racism."

At a barber shop on the town square, when asked about the judge's comment about the accused cop killer, owner Tom Hullum did not condemn it.

"I don’t think that he should be even tried,” said Hullum who went on to say he agreed with the the county Judge was trying to say.

A few seats over- barber Bert Martinez noted Oakley had to take responsibility for creating the controversy and accepts his apology.

“Sometimes you say things  ... off the record and sometimes it just comes out,” Said Martinez who suggested it would be best for the County Judge to think before he speaks next time.

The barbershop advice is something Oakley told FOX 7 he intends to remember, but he also said he will continue to be a supporter of the death penalty.

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