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The New York City bodega worker, who is facing a second-degree murder charge after allegedly being seen on video stabbing an ex-convict who shoved him during a dispute, has been freed from the notorious Rikers Island prison after posting a reduced, $50,000 bail package.
However, Jose Alba, 61, had to surrender his passport, wear an ankle monitor for tracking and is restricted from traveling outside of New York City, according to terms reached with prosecutors Thursday.
“Those four aspects of the package, the bail amount, the surrender of the passport, the electronic monitoring, and the travel restrictions, are the conditions that we believe will ensure the defendant’s return to court while the People continue to investigate this incident,” the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said in statement to Fox News.
Meanwhile, the girlfriend of the 35-year-old Alba is accused of stabbing – Austin Simon – remains without charges Friday, despite investigators saying in a criminal complaint that she brandished a knife herself from her purse and stabbed Alba in the arm during the fatal July 1 confrontation inside a Manhattan deli.
The bail facing Alba was originally set at $250,000 — just half of what Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office wanted. In the initial bail hearing, prosecutors argued Alba is a flight risk since he had a scheduled trip back to his native Dominican Republic next week, according to the New York Post.
“He has every intention to return to court and defend this case,” his attorney, Danielle Jackson of Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, reportedly said in court Thursday.
The confrontation that resulted in the death of Simon, who was out on parole at the time after being imprisoned for assaulting a police officer – followed an argument Alba had with his girlfriend over a bag of chips, the New York Post reported earlier.
A criminal complaint obtained by Fox News Digital said around 11 p.m. last Friday, Simon’s girlfriend tried to buy snack items for her 10-year-old daughter at the deli using an electronic benefits card – but the transaction was declined and a “verbal dispute” ensued.
“Informant observed the defendant reach over the counter, grab her daughter’s hand, and seize the item from her daughter’s hand after the transaction was declined,” the complaint read. “Informant then left the store and informed her boyfriend, Austin Simon, of the clerk’s actions, and returned to the store with Mr. Simon, who went behind the counter of the store to confront the clerk.”
In the complaint, investigators said after reviewing surveillance footage that Simon “pushed the defendant once and spoke to him while the defendant sat in a chair behind the counter.”
When Simon attempted to “steer” Alba out from behind the counter area, the worker “picked up a kitchen knife that was stashed behind the counter and stabbed Mr. Simon in the neck and chest at least five times,” the complaint continued.
Investigators wrote that Simon’s girlfriend then tried to pull Alba away, but he “continued to stab” him before she brandished a knife herself from her purse and stabbed the deli worker in the arm.
Simon was pronounced dead at a local hospital less than an hour later.
“The defendant stated to me, in substance, ‘He wanted me to come apologize to the girl. I took the knife we use to open boxes and I stabbed him,’” the complaint added.
Alba could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the murder charge, according to the New York Post.