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

Jan 19, 2024, 10:57 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.

United States News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

3 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Why AP called South Carolina for Trump: Race call explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared Donald Trump the winner of the South Carolina primary as soon as polls closed on Saturday. The race call was based on a comprehensive survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters that showed him defeating Nikki Haley by wide margins in her home state. Declaring a winner as […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Former NFL player Richard Sherman arrested on suspicion of DUI, authorities in Washington state say

SEATTLE (AP) — Former NFL player Richard Sherman was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Washington State Patrol. No other details about the arrest were immediately available, said Trooper Rick Johnson, a patrol spokesperson. A spokesperson for the King County Prosecutor’s Office said nothing had been sent to […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Lithium ion battery caused fatal fire in New York City apartment building, officials say

NEW YORK (AP) — A lithium ion battery sparked a fire that killed one person and injured 17 others at a New York City apartment building, fire officials said Saturday. Friday’s two-alarm fire began just after 2 p.m. on the third floor of a six-story building in Harlem. New York Police Department video shows firefighters […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Federal prosecutors accuse a New Mexico woman of fraud in oil and gas royalty case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico businesswoman is accused of defrauding the U.S. government and two Native American tribes of taxes and royalties due to them for oil and gas that her companies extracted from leased federal and tribal lands. Federal prosecutors announced this week that Teresa McCown recently was indicted by a grand […]

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

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