A New York City bodega clerk who stabbed a reported convicted felon during a botched robbery says he acted in self-defense but is now behind bars and unable to post bail, the New York Post reports.
Jose Alba, who reportedly has no known criminal history, is currently behind bars at Rikers Island on a $250,000 bail amount. He’s been charged in connection with a Friday night stabbing at the Hamilton Heights Grocery on Broadway and West 139th Street, that left a convicted felon dead.
The incident unfolded when 37-year-old Austin Simon attempted to rob the store after his girlfriend’s EBT card was reportedly declined, which led to an argument between her and the store clerk. Alba, who was working at the time, pulled out a knife and stabbed Simon during the scuffle, after Simon reportedly began attacking Alba.
“It was either him or the guy at the moment,” Alba’s daughter, Yulissa, told The Post. “He’s never hurt anybody. He’s never had an altercation where he had to defend himself. This is the first time for him.”
Simon’s girlfriend also allegedly stabbed Alba during the fight but has not been charged in the incident. Alba is facing second-degree murder charges in what he is calling a self-defense situation in which he had no choice but to fight back.
“It would not be that surprising that someone thinks that harm is going to come to them or that they are going to be robbed, particularly if the woman that you just got into a verbal argument with is also with this person, and ended up taking her own knife out of a purse and stabbing my client,” Alba’s attorney Michelle Villasenor-Grant said during a Saturday arraignment hearing.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s argued for a bail almost twice as high as the amount Alba is currently facing, but it’s still an amount he cannot afford to pay. His family is now hoping something can be done to get him released.
The bodega owner, Maad Ahmad, said that Simon’s girlfriend was arguing and being rude with Alba before she threatened to go get her boyfriend.
“He grabbed Jose by the neck and tried to get him to apologize to the girl,” said bodega owner Maad Ahmad. “He pushed Jose first. Jose was just defending himself.”
If convicted of the offense, Alba faces decades in prison.
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[Feature Photo: Screenshot/Surveillance Footage]