ALISO VIEJO, Calif. (TCD) -- A federal jury convicted a 64-year-old man this week of killing his ex-girlfriend with an explosive device at a day spa in 2018.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California announced July 19 that a jury found Stephen Beal of Long Beach guilty of use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, 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 in connection with 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak's death. A federal grand jury indicted Beal in March 2019.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Beal left a package explosive at his ex-girlfriend Magyar Kozmetika's day spa. On May 15, 2018, shortly after 1 p.m., Krajnyak reportedly opened the package and was "instantly killed." Two spa clients, a mother and her daughter, sustained permanent injuries caused by the package bomb.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said a surviving victim testified she saw "Krajnyak standing behind her desk opening a cardboard box immediately before the massive explosion."
The surviving victim was able to grab her mother from the rubble, and they made it out of the burning commercial building alive.
Beal and Krajnyak reportedly dated for 18 months. Following their breakup, the U.S. Attorney's Office alleged Beal became "obsessed" with her as she tried to "distance herself" from him.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said family members and associates described Beal as "controlling and possessive" and some became concerned about the victim's safety.
Law enforcement searched Beal's home and reportedly located more than 130 pounds of "explosive precursor chemicals and completed explosive mixtures, as well as electric matches and wires."
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Beal had extensive experience with creating high-powered model rockets, as well as pyrotechnics. A lab test confirmed the explosive mixture used in the spa bombing matched the chemicals he had in his home.
Inside the commercial building, the FBI Evidence Response Team found 9-volt battery and wire parts in the ceiling where the bomb went off.
The Attorney's Office said, "The wires used in the bomb’s fusing system were of the same unique type as electric matches and wires found at Beal’s home."
Beal is reportedly seen on store surveillance footage buying items with cash to complete the bomb days before the explosion. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Beal purchased a single 9-volt battery and three cardboard boxes consistent with the surviving victim's testimony.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Beal had access to a key for Magyar Kozmetica spa and would often visit the business while Krajnyak was out of the country. He was reportedly able to place the package there while his ex-girlfriend was away.
Prosecutors alleged Beal "kept tabs on" Krajnyak before the explosion by looking at her schedule and social media accounts.
Beal is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 17 and faces a minimum of 30 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
In an unrelated case, Beal allegedly failed to disclose in a bankruptcy proceeding that he received $350,000 from his deceased wife's estate. Beal is also accused of fraudulently collecting insurance and social security payments. He is set to appear in court Nov. 14 for that trial.