Dancehall artiste Ninjaman (FILE)
KINGSTON – Desmond Ballentyne, the colourful dancehall deejay known as Ninjaman, was sentenced to life in prison when he appeared in the Home Circuit Court on Monday for the March 2009 murder of Ricardo Johnson.
Ninjaman and two other people, including his son, were found guilty of murder in November. He is to serve 25 years before being eligible for parole. He was given 20 years for shooting with intent and life imprisonment for murder.
The other two accused were also handed life sentences, with 15 years before being eligible for parole.
The three were to be sentenced on Friday. However, their sentencing was postponed because the attorney representing one of the convicted men was late for court.
When the sentence was handed out, Ninjaman, gave the thumbs up and his attorney, Queen’s Counsel Valerie Neita-Robertson had earlier indicated they would be appealing the verdict.
The seven-member jury deliberated for more than three hours in the Home Circuit Court before returning the guilty verdict against the singer, his son Janiel, and Dennis Clayton. The three were accused of the murder of Ricardo Johnson, also known as “Trooper”, in March 2009.
Ninjaman was found guilty of murder and shooting with intent, while his co-accused were convicted of murder after the jury heard testimony from the main witness whom the prosecution named only as “Witness A”.
He was arrested in 2009 and remanded in custody for three years before being offered bail.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn told reporters that the murder had its foundation in a domestic dispute between two tenants that escalated on March 16, 2009 and continued the following day.
Ninjaman rose to prominence in the 1980s and during his career spanning more than 30 years, Ninjaman had several hits including his first titled Cover Me, featuring Tinga Stewart. (CMC)