Antoine Gracius, Pembroke Pines Cook From Haiti, Murdered for Gold Chain

Wearing your money around your neck can prove a volatile investment. Gold necklaces and jeweled pendants have long been a preferred mode of conspicuous luxury for nouveau-riche athletes and musicians who have risen from poverty.

A few days ago, Michael Mooney wrote about Dolphin Brandon Marshall's role in a story about the murder of Denver Broncos defensive back Darrent Williams. That story revolved around the image of a heavy jeweled chain as an object of danger and desire.

Now a much-less-famous man -- a cook at a T.G.I. Fridays in Pembroke Pines -- has been murdered, ostensibly for the 14-karat gold chain that hung around his neck.

Antoine Gracius was 53 years old, with nine kids. Early in the morning on April 14, he was leaving work and walking to his car. Somebody drove up in a dark, newish van, snatched Gracius' necklace, and stabbed him several times.

Gracius stumbled, bleeding profusely, back into the restaurant, where his coworkers called 911. Initially, they thought he had been hit by a car.

Police were looking into whether the killing was personal, not just a routine snatch-and-grab. "We looked very much into whether this may be a known suspect," Pembroke Pines police Capt. Dan Rakofsky told the Sun-Sentinel, "but we have no indication [Gracius] had any enemies or was involved in any illicit activities."

Gracius' wife and nine children remain in Haiti. He emigrated to South Florida about five years ago to earn more money than he would have made in his native homeland.

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