Federal prosecutors quietly dropped a criminal charge against the ex-boyfriend of a woman killed in an Aliso Viejo building explosion, saying in a weekend court filing that it’s now unclear if items found at his Long Beach home can be considered destructive devices.
Stephen Beal, 59, was arrested May 16, the day after the explosion that killed Beal’s business partner and former girlfriend, Ildiko Krajnyak, 48. Beal was not charged with causing the explosion. He was charged only with possession of an unregistered destructive device.
Prosecutors brought a motion to dismiss charges on Saturday afternoon to a judge, who granted it, according to Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Beal was released “very early Sunday morning,” Mrozek added.
According to an earlier court affidavit, federal investigators searching Beal’s home found a pair of pipe bombs and three firearms, none of which were registered.
But federal prosecutors, in a motion asking that the criminal complaint against Beal be dismissed, said further examination by the FBI “raises questions as to whether the devices meet the statutory definition for a `destructive device’ contained in” federal law.
Beal had been jailed without bail.
Krajnyak was killed in the May 15 explosion that occurred when she opened a cardboard box inside the day spa she co-owned with Beal, Magya Kozmetika, on the first floor of a building at 11 Mareblu in Aliso Viejo. Two other women were seriously injured but survived.