Grocery Worker Charged with Murder After Killing Robber Walks Free After Public Outcry

A Manhattan bodega worker who was behind bars at Rikers Island after reportedly defending himself from a man who attacked him has been released from jail.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, 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.

Earlier this week, Alba’s daughter told the New York Post that her father acted in self-defense and had never hurt anyone previously, in an attempt to spread awareness about his high bail amount, which the family could not afford.

“It was either him or the guy at the moment,” Alba’s daughter, Yulissa, said. “He’s never hurt anybody. He’s never had an altercation where he had to defend himself. This is the first time for him.”

Austin Simon/Police Handout

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.

On Thursday, Alba’s lawyer, Danielle Jackson, of Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, told the court that should Alba be released on bail, he has “every intention of” returning to court to defend himself, according to the NY Post.

A new bail package was ultimately agreed upon and Alba was released under the new bail terms of $50,000. He’s required to surrender his passport and to remain in New York City.

District Attorney Jennifer Sigall, who previously argued that Alba would likely flee to the Dominican Republic, said that the conditions “will ensure the fact that the defendant will not go to the DR as he planned to.”

Click here to watch the incident (WARNING: Graphic Content)

If convicted of the offense, Alba faces decades in prison.

Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Screenshot/Surveillance Footage]