crimes

Manhattan bodega worker Jose Alba stabs Austin Simon, freed from Rikers Island

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Jose Alba, 61, is originally from the Dominican Republic. He moved to New York City, New York, United States in 1987 and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.

Alba works in a bodega in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan, New York City. Maad Ahmad owns the bodega.

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Austin Simon, 34, and his girlfriend Tina Lee have three children. At around 11:07 on July 1, 2022, Lee and her daughter,10, went to the bodega in Hamilton Heights where Alba works.

It was Alba who was serving as the cashier. Lee tried to buy her daughter a bag of potato chips with an electronic benefits card but the transaction was declined so he reached over the counter and took the snack away from the girl’s hand.

Enraged, Lee threw things including the card reader. She left with her daughter then returned with Simon, who quickly walked behind the counter and yelled at Alba.

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After grabbing Alba by the back of the neck, Simon tried to walk the bodega clerk out of the counter area and demanded him to apologize to the girl. Alba grabbed the knife they use to open boxes, spun around and stabbed Simon in the neck three times.

Lee took a knife from her purse and stabbed Alba in the arm. Only he was arrested.

Simon was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Alba was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon and booked into the Rikers Island Prison Complex on Rikers Island in the Bronx, New York City.

At a hearing on July 7, 2022, prosecutors from Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg‘s office moved to lower Alba’s bond from $250,000 to $50,000. Alba was only required to post 10% of the bond.

Represented by the Neighborhood Defender Service, Alba was released from Rikers Island after his family posted $5,000 bail. Wearing an electronic monitor, he returned to his house in Hamilton Heights and will be back in court on July 20, 2022.

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