Murder charges are dropped for NYC bodega worker who fatally stabbed man

Murder charges are dropped for bodega worker who fatally stabbed man in self-defenses when he was attacked over the price of a bag of chips

  • Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s office filed the motion to dismiss on Tuesday
  • Jose Alba, 61, had been charged with murder in a July 1 workplace confrontation
  • He fatally stabbed a customer who physically attacked him behind the counter
  • Killed was Austin Simon, 37, who was on parole for assaulting a police officer
  • Simon had assaulted Alba after his girlfriend’s EBT card failed to work
  • Bragg faced intense criticism for charging Alba, who claimed self-defense

New York City prosecutors are seeking to drop murder charges against a bodega worker for fatally stabbing a man who physically attacked him over a bag of chips.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office on Tuesday asked a judge to drop the charges against 61-year-old Jose Alba, who said he was acting in self-defense in the stabbing, court filings show.

Alba, who had faced a second-degree murder charge, was working at the Blue Moon deli on July 1 when he fatally stabbed Austin Simon in the neck and chest.

Surveillance footage clearly showed that Simon, 37, had moved behind the counter at the convenience store in Hamilton Heights and pushed the store clerk into a stack of shelves before grabbing him.

It was only then that Alba reached over to a shelf and pulled out a knife to fight back. 

Bodega worker Jose Alba (right) was physically attacked by a customer before pulling out a knife and fatally stabbing the man. Charges against Alba are now being dropped

Bodega worker Jose Alba (right) was physically attacked by a customer before pulling out a knife and fatally stabbing the man. Charges against Alba are now being dropped

This was the altercation that led to Jose Alba's arrest last Friday. Alba, 61, is shown in a blue striped shirt and hat. Austin Simon, right, arrived in the store to confront Alba who had refused to give his girlfriend a bag of potato chips

Alba had a cut on his arm which was the result of Simon's girlfriend attacking him first, his family say

Surveillance footage from the Blue Moon convenience store in Hamilton Heights showed Jose Alba, 61, was assaulted before he grabbed a knife and stabbed Austin Simon, 37, on July 1 

Jose Alba, 61, the Manhattan bodega worker charged with murder for stabbing a man who assaulted him, is released on bail earlier this month

Jose Alba, 61, the Manhattan bodega worker charged with murder for stabbing a man who assaulted him, is released on bail earlier this month

During the altercation, Alba was apparently stabbed by Simon’s girlfriend, who instigated the argument over the cost of a bag of chips, but was never charged in the incident.

Tuesday’s motion to dismiss stated that prosecutors ‘have determined that we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not justified in his use of deadly physical force.’

Progressive DA Alvin Bragg had faced intense criticism after charging the bodega worker

Progressive DA Alvin Bragg had faced intense criticism after charging the bodega worker

District Attorney Bragg had faced intense criticism after charging Alba, including from Mayor Eric Adams. 

The progressive DA’s move to drop charges will have to be approved by a judge, but likely means that Alba’s legal ordeal has come to an end.

Pressure had been growing for Bragg to drop the charges against Alba since footage emerged showing that Simon – who has previously been convicted for other assaults – had pushed Alba into a shelf and started dragging him.

The footage shows the two struggling before Alba grabbed his knife and started stabbing Simon

Other videos obtained by DailyMail.com show Simon – who was on parole for attacking a police officer when he died – marching behind the bodega counter to confront Alba. 

‘Papa, I don’t want a problem, papa,’ Alba told him calmly. 

Simon charged into the Blue Moon convenience store minutes after his girlfriend tried to buy a bag of chips for her daughter, but her electronic benefits card had been declined. 

This is the moment Alba was stabbed in the arm by the girlfriend of the man he stabbed to death on July 1 in a row over a bag of potato chips

This is the moment Alba was stabbed in the arm by the girlfriend of the man he stabbed to death on July 1 in a row over a bag of potato chips 

Alba was stabbed in the arm by Simon's girlfriend during the altercation

Alba was stabbed in the arm by Simon's girlfriend during the altercation

Alba was stabbed in the arm by Simon’s girlfriend during the altercation

The woman, who claimed Alba snatched the bag of chips from the child, is heard on the video asking Alba, ‘Did you put food?’ 

Alba responds that he’ll try her card another time.  

‘OK, mama, let me do it another time. My God,’ he says to her as she insists, ‘There’s money on there.’ 

But he swipes the EBT card multiple times and hands it back to her, saying it’s not working. 

The woman was in the store with her daughter trying to buy a bag of chips

The woman was in the store with her daughter trying to buy a bag of chips

The edited footage cuts to show other customers in the bodega as the woman is heard yelling out of view from the camera. 

‘You can’t touch my daughter. Don’t snatch that out of my daughter, you f–king piece of shit!’

The woman had reported that Alba snatched the bag of chips from her daughter’s hands when they couldn’t pay. 

She continues, ‘I’m gonna bring my n– down here and he gonna f–k you up. My n— is gonna come down here right now and f–k you up!’

Alba tells her it’s not his fault and the card wasn’t working. 

Another woman asked, ‘Did they take something from you?’  Alba replied, ‘No, I take it back.’

Simon can then be seen on the video storming into the store and walking behind the counter where he confronts Alba.  

‘What’s up with you? N****r what is wrong with you?’ he yells at him. 

It is then that Simon pushes Alba into the shelf. According to court filings, Alba responded by stabbing Simon in the heart, lung, and jugular vein.

The convenience store where the incident occurred in Manhattan's Hamilton Heights

The convenience store where the incident occurred in Manhattan’s Hamilton Heights

In the new video footage, it cuts to show a bloodied Simon splayed out on the bodega floor and his girlfriend is heard yelling, ‘That was over $3. Three f**king dollars. He snatched something out of my daughter…please help him.’

Insiders have claimed the girlfriend has not been charged for attacking the shop worker because prosecutors think she was defending her boyfriend. 

Following the altercation, Simon was brought to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead; Alba was thrown in the city’s infamous Riker’s Island prison on murder charges.

He was originally being held on a $250,000 bond, but the district attorney’s office lowered to $50,000 amid the growing outrage.

Among those who expressed their support for Alba was New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, who even visited the bodega to offer his support.

‘I’m a person that’s there for people following the law. I saw from the video, I saw a voter here inside the store following the law…It’s time for New Yorkers and Americans to start standing up for people who follow the law,’ he said.

Developing story, more to follow. 

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