The Manhattan bodega clerk who was infamously charged with murder for fatally stabbing an assailant has had it with the crime-ridden Big Apple and is leaving the US, at least for now, pals told The Post on Friday.
“He doesn’t work here anymore. He’s getting ready to move out of the country,” the manager of the Blue Moon convenient store, where the grisly stabbing happened July 1, said of Jose Alba, 61.
The store manager, who declined to identify himself, said Alba is headed to Santiago, a city in the Dominican Republic where the former worker is originally from.
“He doesn’t come [to the store anymore], but we go visit him at home from time to time,” the manager said.
Alba is still trying to process what happened to him, including being charged with murder in the self-defense slaying and then finally having the rap dropped amid widespread outcry, said Francisco Marte, the head of a bodega association that has been helping the worker.
“He is taking a hiatus right now,” Marte said. “He went upstate to get away from everything” before he heads to the DR.
“He is not going back to work at the bodega. He is taking a break fighting with his trauma, and he said he is afraid for his life,” Marte said.
“He is trying to get back to normal, but he said it’s very hard when you have flashbacks of what happened. We are getting him professional help, and then [Alba and his family] decide whether he goes back to the DR for good or just spends some time there.”
On July 1, Alba was working behind the counter at the Hamilton Heights bodega when he got into an argument with a woman after she couldn’t pay for a bag of chips.
The woman then sent for her boyfriend, Austin Simon, 35, who came behind the counter and attacked Alba, leading the worker to grab a knife and stab the man to death.
Alba called police, and when they arrived, they arrested him on second-degree murder charges, sparking a wave of protest from supporters, including Mayor Eric Adams and former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who said the stabbing was committed in self-defense.
Alba was locked up on Rikers Island but was soon freed when prosecutors agreed to lower his $250,000 bail.
Still, even while out on bail, Alba couldn’t return to work at the bodega because his managers were concerned his life was in danger and that Simon’s family could try to target him at the store, they said in July.
On July 19, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg finally agreed to drop the charges against Alba, conceding there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the worker “was not justified in his use of deadly physical force,” his office wrote in a motion.
After the decision, Alba told reporters he felt “so-so” and soon fled upstate to get away from the attention and clear his head, Marte said.
Marte, asked about Alba’s physical recovery from being stabbed during the melee himself, said the man’s wounds “are coming along good.
“They are not fully healed,” Marte said. “The scars will be there for life. It’s going to be a reminder of what happened and the tragedy he went through.”
Alba couldn’t be reached for comment.