Man charged with stabbing Jax woman accused in second stabbing


Markas Fishburne admits cutting the throat of a fellow jail inmate, but says it was self-defense.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man charged with fatally stabbing his roommate’s girlfriend in 2019 is on trial – for a different stabbing. 

Markas Fishburne, charged with first degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Aisha Levy, testified on his own behalf Wednesday that he sliced the neck of inmate Josh’uan Stripling in self-defense.

Stripling was the first witness, showing jurors the thick scar on his neck and telling them the confrontation occurred after Fishburne stole items from his jail cell.

Fishburne denied stealing anything, saying Stripling is a member of the Cutthroat gang in jail and was threating him.

Fishburne testified that Stripling was in charge of the jail pod’s “wick,” or fire source, and didn’t want Fishburne to have access to a flame. Fishburne said he got one from another inmate and was burning plastic chess pieces in a paper bag to create ash for jail tattoos when Stripling came into his cell and grabbed the bag.

Surveillance video shows Stripling grabbing a bag from Fishburne’s cell – he said it contained toothpaste and coffee — before returning and pushing Fishburne in the face. Fishburne responded by cutting Stripling’s neck with a razor blade strapped to a comb. Stripling was taken to the hospital for stitches, which he later removed himself – something Fishburne’s lawyers said made his scar more pronounced.

Assistant State Attorney Joe Licandro acknowledged that Stripling had a checkered past, including 10 prior felony convictions. “I’m not asking you to have sympathy for Mr. Stripling,” he told jurors. “Part of you may think, ‘Well, he deserved it. He did push Mr. Fishburne.’ But that’s not what this is about. This is about following the law.”

Fishburne’s attorney Joshua Beard argued Stripling was not a credible witness. He said Fishburne had reason to fear for his own safety from an inmate who acknowledged, as Stripling did, that he could get any number of people in the jail to “flip” – or injure — an inmate if he wanted to.

“How did you feel at the time he touched you?” Beard asked Fishburne.

“I felt like I needed to defend myself,” he answered, “weapon or not.”
Attorneys finished their closing arguments shortly before 6 p.m. If convicted, Fishburne faces up to 30 years in prison.

Fishburne’s trial in the death of Aisha Levy gets underway in April. Police found her body hidden in a plastic bin in the closet of a Southside apartment in 2019. Fishburne was living in the apartment with Levy’s boyfriend and another roommate at the time. He has pleaded not guilty. 

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