On Tuesday (July 19), the Manhattan District Attorney’s filed a motion to drop all charges against New York City bodega owner, Jose Alba. The 61-year-old stabbed Austin Simon to death during an altercation inside of his store earlier this month. The filing from D.A’s office stated, “A homicide case against Alba could not be proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Simon, who was unarmed, allegedly confronted Alba over the payment for a bag of potato chips for his girlfriend’s 10-year-old daughter. The 35-year-old went behind the counter and shoved the old man. Alba then retaliated by stabbing him three times.
Prosecutors requested for Alba to be held on $500,000 bail because of an alleged planned trip to the Dominican Republic. But a judge slashed it down to $250,000. As the surveillance footage began surfacing online, the judge lowered the bail to $50,o00 if Alba agreed to wear an ankle monitor and hand over his passport. He was released the same day after his boss and relatives scraped up the minimum required payment of $5,000.
Austin Simon’s cousin Candra addressed the filing. “We are all clearly disappointed and can’t understand how it’s OK to take an unarmed man’s life,” she said. “This decision sets a dangerous precedent.”
New York City mayor Eric Adams publicly supported the “hardworking” bodega owner. “My heart goes out for this hard-working, honest New Yorker that was doing his job in his place of business, where a person came in and went behind the counter and attacked him,” he said during a press conference. But he didn’t question the charges the Manhattan D.A. filed against him. “The DA has a non-mandate, where we cannot dictate or mandate how he determines how he’s going to prosecute crimes. That is up to the district attorney, and I’m not going to second-guess the district attorney for his actions.”