NATIONAL NEWS

Man sentenced to life plus 30 years in 2018 California spa bombing that killed his ex-girlfriend

Jan 19, 2024, 9:57 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California man was sentenced Friday to two life sentences to run concurrently, plus 30 years, for blowing up his ex-girlfriend’s spa business with a package bomb in 2018, killing her and seriously injuring two others.

Friday’s hearing concluded a case against Stephen Beal that was fraught with missteps for investigators and prosecutors since the May 15, 2018 bombing in an Aliso Viejo spa, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Los Angeles.

Ildiko Krajnyak, 48, was killed in the fiery blast when she opened a box with a homemade bomb inside that Beal had slipped into the spa while she was in Hungary visiting family. Two clients she had just treated — a mother and daughter — were knocked off their feet. The blast destroyed the business and tore a large hunk from the building. Body parts were found in the parking lot.

Beal, a partner in the business, was jealous Krajnyak had been dating someone else after their 18-month relationship ended, prosecutors said.

Beal was arrested shortly after the explosion on a single charge of possessing an unregistered destructive device but was never officially named as a suspect in the blast in the days that followed. The charge was dropped after prosecutors questioned whether material found at his Long Beach home constituted a “destructive device.” Beal claimed that explosive material found at his house was for his model rockets.

He was free for nearly 10 months before being re-arrested following a painstaking analysis of the evidence.

Beal’s first trial in 2022 ultimately ended in a mistrial after the federal jury deadlocked. He was retried in 2023 and the second jury convicted him of four felonies including the use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death.

Beal also was found guilty of malicious destruction of a building resulting in death, use of a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, and possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Beal’s federal public defender, Craig Harbaugh, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

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