New York City bodega worker charged with murder after allegedly being seen on video stabbing ex-con in dispute

Jose Alba attacked Austin Simon after being confronted, investigators say

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A New York City bodega worker is currently being held in the notorious Rikers Island prison on a second-degree murder charge after allegedly being seen on video stabbing an ex-con who shoved him during a dispute.  

Jose Alba, a 51-year-old with no prior criminal history, is unable to post $250,000 bail stemming from the July 1 incident involving Austin Simon, 34, inside a Manhattan deli, according to the New York Post. The hefty figure is just half of what Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office wanted – and 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 newspaper added. 

"He’s never hurt anybody. He’s never had an altercation where he had to defend himself," Alba’s daughter Yulissa told the New York Post. "This is the first time for him." 

A criminal complaint obtained by Fox News Digital said around 11 p.m. 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. 

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The entrance to Rikers Island, home to the main jail complex, is shown from the Queens borough on Oct. 19, 2021 in New York City. 

The entrance to Rikers Island, home to the main jail complex, is shown from the Queens borough on Oct. 19, 2021 in New York City.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

"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." 

Then 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. 

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.  ((Barry Williams/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images))

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, while Simon’s girlfriend is currently facing no charges, according to the New York Post. 

During the bail hearing, prosecutors argued Alba is a flight risk since he had a scheduled trip back to his native Dominican Republic next week, the newspaper also reported. 

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"We are continuing to review the evidence and the investigation is ongoing," a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office later told Fox News Digital. 

The New York Post, citing sources and records, reported that Simon served prison time after being convicted of assaulting a cop before his parole last year.