I-Team: Jewelry store closing Dec. 24, but memory of murders remains … ‘It was the saddest day of my life’

I-Team

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Johnny Del Prado loves Las Vegas.

“I tell ’em how great it is. They ask, ‘Well, what makes it so great?’ And I look ’em right in the eye and I say, it’s Vegas baby!”

He says jewelry is his other passion.

“I’m gonna miss doing what I do,” he said.

He’s getting ready to close his shop on Fremont Street after taking over the family business, which started in 1975.

“I wanna dedicate more time to my family,” Del Prado said.

And the Del Prado family has been through a lot.

Del Prado’s mother and grandmother were murdered by their own store employee in 2003.

“He treated them so harshly, so badly. He beat them so bad, he had no mercy on them whatsoever,” Del Prado said. “It was … it was the saddest day of my life.”

Del Prado wasn’t at the store when it happened.

“I wish I would have been there,” he said. “I wasn’t supposed to be there for another two or three hours. He came in early to attack us and rob us.”

He said Avetis Archanian took a surveillance tape after he committed the crimes, but he didn’t know about a secret backup system. That system caught him in the act.

Avetis Archanian (KLAS)

Archanian was charged with murder.

Del Prado’s mother remained on life support until “it was time to say goodbye,” he said.

“Finally there came a time where she wasn’t gonna be her. And, my personal opinion, if you can’t be you, let ’em go. Let ’em go to a better place,” Del Prado said.

Archanian was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty. He remains on death row.

Would Del Prado attend his Archanian’s execution?

“Absolutely,” he said. “I wanna look him in the eyes and I wanna let him know that what he did was wrong and that now he has to give his life, even though it’ll never pay for lives he took.”

After the murders, Del Prado relocated the business from 4th and Carson to Fremont Street.

Del Prado Jewelers (KLAS)

“I wanted to move on and leave that baggage behind me, although I’ll never forget,” he said.

One of the things most noticeable about Del Prado is his upbeat demeanor.

“My dad always said try to find a ray of sunshine on every cloudy day. And that’s the way that I have lived my life,” he said.

“If you don’t let things go, they’re just gonna drag you down on the path that you’re going.”

Del Prado says he’s shutting these doors for good Dec. 24 at 5 p.m.

“Johnny has left the building,” he said.

Del Prado Jewelers (KLAS)

Del Prado says he will still work on jewelry from home, so he’s not fully giving up his passion.

The I-Team reached out to the Clark County District Attorney’s Office to find out the status of Avetis Archanian’s case.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson says Archanian is represented by federal public defenders as he continues to fight his death penalty case. A hearing is scheduled for January. Archanian remains at High Desert State Prison.

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