Ninjaman Sentencing Set For Friday Deejay Faces Life In Prison For Murder

Ninjaman will know his fate this Friday.

The Don Gorgon will be back in court on December 15th for his sentencing hearing. The dancehall legend, whose real name is Desmond Ballentine, his son Janiel, and his close friend Dennis Clayton were found guilty of the murder of Ricardo Johnson. The three men were convicted by a seven-member jury on November 20th in what was a stunning development that sent shock-waves throughout dancehall. All three men are facing life imprisonment for the murder, but Ninjman has indicated that he will likely file an appeal.

Ninjaman’s attorney is asking the judge to be lenient in his sentencing while pointing to the deejay’s charitable work in his community over the years. Several ordinary citizens whom he has helped in the past are also expected to speak in court on his behalf. The prosecution will likely recommend life without parole for the murder, but it will be up to the judge to make the final decision on his prison term. He will be housed at the same Tower Street prison, aka GP, as Vybz Kartel.

Ninjaman, 51, reacted to the murder conviction outside of the Supreme Court building in Kingston on the day he was found guilty. “Don’t f*** with me Jamaica, I’ll be back!” he said, while hinting that he will likely file an appeal. According to authorities, Ninjaman shot and killed Johnson, also known as Ricky Trooper, on Marl Road, Kingston 13, in March 2009 following a domestic dispute. The deejay says he is innocent, but several witnesses including a man who is in witness protection, testified that he was the one who pulled the trigger.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, says the killing was stemmed from a fight between Dennis Clayton a friend of Johnson over kitchen space. The unnamed man who was involved in the fight says two shots were fired at him but he manages to escape and ran for his life.

Ninjaman and His Son Found Guilty Of Murder


Ninjaman and his son, Jamiel, were found guilty of murder in the Home Circuit Court on Monday.

The dancehall legend, real name Desmond Ballentine, his Jamiel, and Dennis Clayton were found guilty by a seven-member jury who deliberated for three hours. According to the prosecution, the three men murdered 20-year-old Ricardo Johnson, aka Ricky Trooper, from Marl Road, Kingston 13 in March 2009. The three weeks trial was held in camera behind closed doors, which means the public or the media did not have access to the courtroom.

Ninjaman, 51, and his two co-accused are facing life imprisonment for the crime. He will be back before the judge next month for his sentencing hearing and is currently behind bars. During the month-long trial, the prosecution introduced seven witnesses including a man who is in witness protection who testified that the three men fired two shots at him but he ran for his life. He was the star witness for the prosecution who argued that on the day of the murder, the three men had an argument with Johnson who was sweeping a yard on Marl Road. The men then left the scene and returned a short while later with guns blazing.

Following an investigation, cops arrested Ninjaman and his co-accused. The dancehall deejay was granted a JM$2 million bail in 2012 following numerous delays in the trial. The case has seen 23 mentions in the court and 17 delays up until last month when a judged revoked the deejay’s bail and ordered the trial be concluded. The murder case was tried in a special court that deals with cases over five years old with Justice Martin Gayle presiding over the high profile case.

Ninjaman and his two co-accused have maintained their innocence and will likely appeal the conviction. He will likely be housed in the same Tower Street prison as Vybz Kartel.

Who is Ninjaman?

Ninjaman is one of the pioneers of hardcore dancehall music. The famed deejay was born in Annotto Bay, Jamaica, on January 20, 1966. He then moved to Kingston at the age of 12 and started deejaying at the age of 14 under the name “Double Ugly” while working with some local sound systems like Black Culture.

He changed his name in 1980 to Ninjaman and started deejaying on Killamanjaro sound system. That same year he released his debut single “Uglyman” and started being around artists like Early B and Super Cat who were established acts at the time. By the mid-1980s, Ninjaman started recording and producing himself and there he found his breakout hit “Protection” a song that features Courtney Melody. That song elevated his profile as a dancehall artist and from there he started working with producers like Ini Kamoze, Philip “Fatis” Burrell, Steely & Clevie, Bobby Digital, and King Jammy.

In the late 80s to early 90s, Ninjaman scored a number of hit songs and established himself as a clash artist thanks to his notorious clash with Supercat at Sting 1991. That clash is down in history as one of the most fierce lyrical battles in dancehall history.