WAILUKU - A 37-year-old Napili man charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of a co-worker was released from jail Thursday after posting $100,000 bail.
William Ranep was arrested Monday night about an hour after Lahaina patrol officers responded to Napili Plaza at 7 p.m. and found 58-year-old Lahaina resident Danny Jose unresponsive on the ground, police said.
Jose was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition. He was pronounced dead at 10 a.m. the next day, police said.
An initial court appearance for Ranep had been scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Wailuku District Court. After being released on bail, he was ordered to appear Dec. 10 in Lahaina District Court.
Police said both Ranep and Jose worked for a maintenance company.
According to documents filed in court to support the second-degree murder charge, Ranep was seen pushing Jose until he fell near the rear parking lot of Napili Plaza. Jose was on the ground when Ranep struck Jose in the head and face about 12 times and kicked Jose in the head five times, witnesses told police.
Earlier in the day, at about 1 p.m. Monday, Jose had been passed out on the floor of the maintenance office when he was awakened by Ranep to be taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center for a drug screening, according to court documents. Jose reportedly became combative and struck Ranep several times.
After the screening, Jose was in Wailuku when he called Ranep for a ride back to Napili. Ranep picked up Jose, who was apologetic while being driven back.
Ranep was helping Jose, who had been instructed to empty out his office, when Jose picked up a kitchen knife and threatened to kill Ranep, he later told police.
Ranep had locked the office and was walking to his truck when he saw Jose and decided to "immobilize him," according to documents.
Police said Jose was on the ground and unresponsive when Ranep fled in a white pickup truck belonging to the maintenance company. Ranep was in the truck at a residence on Hanawai Street in Napili when officers located him at 8:17 p.m. Monday.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.