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Manhattan DA drops murder charge against bodega clerk who stabbed man in self-defense

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has dropped a murder charge against bodega clerk Jose Alba, who fatally stabbed a man who entered his shop and attacked the clerk in July.

Despite claiming he was acting in self-defense, Alba was initially arrested and charged with second-degree murder by the DA for the killing of Austin Simon.

On Tuesday, Bragg dropped the charge and acknowledged that Alba was acting in self defense.

As the New York Post reports, Bragg's office filed a motion in Manhattan Criminal Court to dismiss the charges following an investigation which showed prosecutors couldn't prove Alba "was not justified in his use of deadly physical force."

Following his arrest, the 61-year-old bodega clerk was held at Riker's Island for a week before his family posted the $50,000 bail, which had originally been set at $500,000 cash.

Security footage of the incident quickly went viral, leading social media users and politicians to slam Bragg and call for Alba's acquittal.

"The fact that you are even prosecuting Mr. Alba reveals how your perverse sense of justice not only protects violent criminals, but actively seeks to destroy the lives of crime victims," wrote a bipartisan group of New York City Council members.

If Alvin Bragg moves forward with prosecuting Jose Alba, I will commute Alba’s sentence at my very first opportunity. Kathy Hochul says that none of this is any of her business. She couldn’t be more wrong. I stand with Jose Alba! — Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) July 17, 2022

New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin said prior to Bragg's decision that if the Manhattan DA decided to prosecute Alba, he would commute his sentence the first chance he got.

United Bodegas of America also offered Alba their support. "Bottom line; in Florida, this is what you would consider stand your ground," UBA spokesman Fernando Mateo said during a press conference.

On Friday night, when the altercation took place, Simon's girlfriend entered Alba's bodega with her daughter. After her EBT card was declined, Alba said she couldn't have them for free, at which point she became confrontational. Alba allegedly took chips from the young girl, which prompted her mother to threaten him, saying she'd bring Simon down to deal with things.

Upon arrival, Simon went behind the clerk's counter. The ex-con, who had 27 prior arrests, shoved Alba and cornered him, at which point Alba grabbed a knife and stabbed Simon, eventually fatally.

All the while, Alba was being stabbed by Simon's girlfriend.

When all was said and done, Alba was taken away by NYPD. When he first spoke of the incident, Alba said he was "very sad," and that he "didn’t think this would happen." He expressed his sympathy for Simon's family, and asked for their forgiveness.

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