Dancehall Deejay Ninja Man Convicted of Murder

by Howard Campbell

Dancehall Deejay Ninja Man
Ninja Man

KINGSTON, Jamaica – It won’t be a Merry Christmas for Ninja Man. The colorful dancehall deejay was convicted of murder in Jamaica’s Home CIrcuit Court in Kingston on Monday.

Ninja Man, whose real name is Desmond Ballentyne, was charged along with his son Jameil and Dennis Clayton, with murdering Ricardo Johnson in Kingston in March, 2009.

They are scheduled to be sentenced on December 15.

It will be Ninja Man’s second time in  prison. He served a one-year term in the late 1990s and flirted with Christianity on his release.

Ninja Man had expressed frustration at the drawn-out nature of the case, claiming it prevented him from traveling to the United States for shows. He was taken into custody on October 17 and the trial resumed in November.

There were a total of 17 trial dates and 23 mention dates since their arrests eight years ago.

Josef Bogdanovich managed Ninja Man for two years at Kingston-based Downsound Records. He told South Florida Caribbean News that he was “overwhelmed” by the verdict.

“My experience with him was nothing but positive, he is an innovative and talented person who made an indelible impression on me,” said Bogdanovich.

Ninja Man was born in St. Mary, a hilly rural parish in eastern Jamaica. He came to prominence during the 1980s with a mix of bawdy and violent songs including Protection and Border Clash.

He was a staple at Sting, the Boxing Day dancehall show that catered to his controversial antics. There, he clashed with any willing opponent, be it Beenie Man, Merciless or Bounty Killer.

Ninja Man will be the second dancehall heavyweight to be imprisoned in three years. Vybz Kartel is serving a life sentence for murder.

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