"That night in the club in our Paradise Cornell taunted me. He said I wanted it! So I smacked him in the head with a bottle, I pushed his ass out the window and bashed his face in with a mic stand, because he was wrong. I never wanted it."
Mariah Dillard to Tilda Johnson[src]

The Assassination of Cottonmouth was an unplanned attack by Mariah Dillard, who single-handedly murdered Cottonmouth out of blind anger.


"We family, Cornell. Mama Mabel taught us that–"
"Mama Mabel, Mama Mabel! Go on with that shit. All the things I could've did with my life, my music. But who does she send to that uppity-ass boarding school? You. She put you in school and forced me to run the streets."
Mariah Dillard and Cornell Stokes[src]

As Luke Cage was single-handedly giving strong blows against their criminal empire, Cottonmouth and Black Mariah met at Harlem's Paradise to discuss it. However, the angry conversation quickly took a turn when their troubled family history gets brought up, where Stokes snidely remarked that she wanted it all to happen.[2]



Cottonmouth lies injured on the ground

"I saw the way you used to flirt with Uncle Pete when I was little. Running around half-naked all the time. You wanted it, Mariah. You wanted it and you know it."
"I did not want it!"
Cornell Stokes and Mariah Dillard[src]

Immediately angered by his remark, Mariah Dillard proceeded to angrily grab a glass bottle and slam Cottonmouth in the head with it, and then forcefully shove him out the window to the lower floor. As a weakened and shocked Stokes attempted to crawl to safety, Dillard began to yell repeatedly that she did not want it, as she took a microphone stand and continued beating him to death with it.[2]



Shades comforts Mariah Dillard

"You killed Cornell! Cage didn't have anything to do with that; you killed Cornell! Why did you kill Cornell?"
"Because he loved Uncle Pete more than he loved me!"
Tilda Johnson and Mariah Dillard[src]

Shades arrived to the situation just as Dillard had finished beating him to death. He managed to convince her it she did it with good intentions, and proceeded to further beat up the body to put the blame on Luke Cage.[2]

Hearing the news, Diamondback decided to return to Harlem to take over the criminal empire and finally murder Cage.[2]

As Cage was sent on the run, eventually Candace Miller, who witnessed the event, confessed Dillard was the real killer which led to her eventual arrest. However, Dillard still managed to get herself out of prison when Shades' murder of Miller left the police unable to get sufficient evidence. Ultimately, Diamondback was blamed for the murder, partly because he too had attempted to pin his crimes on Cage.[3][4]


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