Prairie Village neighbors devastated by murder of 70-year-old, a pillar in community

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — An Iowa man now faces charges for the weekend murder of a 70-year-old man in Prairie Village.

Neighbors say John Hoffman tried to help the man who’s now accused of taking his life in his Prairie Village apartment.

On Sunday, 58-year-old Michael Balance was arrested in Des Moines, Iowa, as a suspect in Hoffman’s murder. Then Monday, Balance was charged in Johnson County court.

Friends and neighbors are having a difficult time understanding why anyone would do this to Hoffman. 

“He would give you the shirt off his back. He would do anything for you. He was, you know, he was just the best guy ever,” said Bret Ramsey, Hoffman’s friend.

Hoffman was a pillar in his community, friends and neighbors say. They said he took care of those who couldn’t take care of themselves.

“It’s tough right now because he was a staple in what we did, in what we’re trying to do anyways.” Ramsey said.

Neighbors said police have the right person in custody. 

“We are grateful for that. We all knew him. We all knew who it was. We just knew,” said Sue Andrew, Hoffman’s friend.

Sue said this has traumatized the neighborhood.

“Even this morning, we heard a noise and I jumped up and I ran out on my patio, and that neighbor over there ran out to hers, too,” Andrew said.

Hoffman is survived by his three children.

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