- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2022

The hotly debated case of a New York City bodega employee who was charged with murder for allegedly stabbing and killing an ex-con attacking him is out on bail.

Jose Alba is the 61-year-old employee who made bail and left Rikers Island Thursday night following nearly a week of national media coverage that centered on his legal case of self-defense.

The incident happened at a Manhattan store at about 11 p.m. on July 1 when Mr. Alba attempted to ring up a woman for a bag of chips for her child, according to the New York Post.

However, the Post reported that the EBT card the woman used to complete the purchase didn’t have enough money on it, so Mr. Alba had to deny the transaction.

That’s when the woman reportedly left the store in a rage to go get her boyfriend, 35-year-old Austin Simon — a man who had eight prior convictions for assault, robbery and assault during a domestic dispute, according to the Post.

The outlet said that Mr. Simon was out on parole for assaulting an officer on the night of the stabbing.

Surveillance video showed Mr. Simon went behind the store’s counter and shoved Mr. Alba against the store’s shelving and continued to stand over him.

When Mr. Alba got up to walk past Mr. Simon, the parolee grabbed the back of Mr. Alba’s neck, which is when the store clerk turned and stabbed Mr. Simon with a knife used to open boxes at least five times, the outlet reported.

Mr. Simon was taken to a hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Mr. Alba’s attorney also alleged that Mr. Simon’s girlfriend stabbed Mr. Alba in the shoulder at some point in the altercation.

Prosecutors working for New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged Mr. Alba with second-degree murder — a sentence that potentially carries 15 to 25 years in prison, according to the Post — and had a cash bail of $250,000 set after the DA had originally asked for a $500,000 bail. Mr. Alba was taken to Rikers Island while awaiting trial.

The case has received widespread media coverage as many have sympathized with Mr. Alba’s response, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

“My heart goes out for this hard-working, honest New Yorker that was doing his job in his place of business, where a person came in and went behind the counter and attacked him,” Mr. Adams said Thursday, according to the Post.

Efforts to raise the bail for Mr. Alba were challenging.

A GoFundMe page set up to help pay for Mr. Alba’s bail was shut down on Wednesday night, the Post reported.

A Thursday statement from the company said, “Our terms of service prohibit fundraising for the legal defense of a violent crime. At this time, the fundraiser has been removed and all donors have been refunded.”

According to the Daily Mail, the page had raised $20,000 at the time it was shut down.

Mr. Alba was able to make bail when a judge lowered the required dollar amount from $250,000 to $50,000, according to the Post.

Mr. Alba immigrated to the U.S. 30 years ago from the Dominican Republic, the paper reported.

He became a U.S. citizen 14 years ago and has no criminal record.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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