The Lux Affair
by George Chevalier

It is with very careful treading do I walk you through this minefield known as the Lux Murder for you have two classifications namely involvement and or participant.

The participants were two Americans, by name Scales and Johnson, who were low life hard core bad apples with a gambling habit that they satisfied by hosting poker parties at their apartment in the City. Several local Zone boys became involved with these two no-goods through the poker sessions.

With the need for money ever pressing Scales and Johnson pressured the local boys into robbing the Lux Theater and they fearing for their own safety consented to go along with plan. One boy managed to not be available on the night of the break-in but the other was pressured into driving the get away car. During the robbery the two older Americans who had gone inside brutally killed the night watchman who had been sleeping on a sofa in the lobby.

Another robbery was latter plotted and the two Zone boys really feared for their lives since they knew too much. The boy who had evaded the first caper sought out the police and told all and so when Scales and Johnson hit the next business office the Guardia was staked out in full force and all were arrested.

Scales and Johnson each were sentenced to 20 years on Coiba which is the maximum Panama could impose but that was in reality a death sentence for within a year or two they were shot trying to escape as it is recorded officially.

The boy who had gone to the police had not actually participated in these events and so was released from charges and for his own safety he hurriedly and quietly left for the States where he joined the Army Air Force and flew as a gunner on Bombers out of England and returned to work for Pan Canal in later years.

The boy who had driven the car was kept in jail for a number of months and eventually released for I'm sure the authorities considered the intimidation factor the younger ones had been under. This boy also worked for a number of years on the Isthmus in later years. If memory serves me correctly all those involved are now dead except the boy who went to the police. I know they have had to carry a heavy burden in life for the folly of their youth.

Addendum to the Lux Affair;

I am 73 and graduated from BHS in 43. The Zone boys involved in this were upper class mates of mine in school. And is the way with youth they were looked up to by us younger types. Sipping a cool draft beer one night in the air conditioned bar of the Atlas Beer Garden I was flattered when one of the boys asked me if I wanted to go watch the MEN play poker. As I say, flattered, I jumped at the chance and was driven to Scales and Johnsons Apt. somewhere near automobile row.

The older men did not appreciate the kid being brought along and reflected it in their demeanor and as it turns out I was put to work as the gopher running out for more beer,soda,cigarettes etc. After about several hours I had my fill of this and quietly walked out over to the Zone and caught a Chiva to Balboa.

So when the bad stuff went down we younger guys listened to it all with great interest for after all fellow Zonians were involved. The details of this were well known by the kids of Balboa in my age bracket. The intimate details were being leaked and passed around and it was the foremost topic of conversation for sometime. The younger brother of one the boys was in my class of 43 and that served as a pipeline of information.

Scales and Johnson were real first class criminal types that had come down to the Isthmus to undoubtedly beat the Draft and they certainly got what they deserved on Coiba.

George C.