The Long Beach man arrested in connection with last year’s fatal bombing at an Aliso Viejo day spa that killed his ex-girlfriend had threatened the woman after she admitted being in a relationship with another man, federal authorities said Monday.
Federal officials also said evidence found at the bombing scene — pieces of wire — matched wire that was found during a search of Stephen Beal’s home in Long Beach. They also said that about one week before the explosion, Beal, 59, was seen on surveillance video purchasing the type of battery used in the explosive device.
Beal also allegedly purchased a series of cardboard boxes similar to the one that contained the bomb that went off May 15, 2018, at 11 Mareblu that killed 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak. Beal, who co-owned the spa with Krajnyak, was also one of few people to have access to the business and was seen at the spa days before the blast, federal authorities said.
FBI officials said last year Krajnyak was killed when she opened a cardboard box near the front desk of the day spa, triggering the explosive device inside. Two other women inside the business were seriously injured.
Beal was arrested Sunday and FBI agents swarmed his home.
Beal had been arrested the day after the explosion. At the time, investigators reported finding two improvised explosive devices, three unregistered firearms and more than 100 pounds of explosive material during a search of his house. He told investigators at the time that he and Krajnyak had split up in part over finances, according to a court affidavit.
He was not charged with causing the blast after his arrest last year. He was charged only in federal court with possession of an unregistered destructive device. But federal prosecutors said further examination by the FBI raised questions as to whether the item met the definition of a `destructive device’ set out in federal law, and prosecutors later brought a motion to dismiss the charges, which was granted May 29. Beal claimed he had the materials because of his hobby building model rockets.
Federal officials said Monday Beal has now been charged with malicious destruction of a building resulting in Krajnyak’s death. He is expected to make an initial court appearance sometime Monday.
Authorities said previously that more than 1,000 pieces of evidence were collected from the crime scene, 300 of which were sent to FBI’s Laboratory Division in Quantico, Virginia, to be examined.
Investigators have also accumulated “terrabytes of digital media and hours of surveillance footage.”
The ingredients of the bomb could have been bought at retail stores, investigators say.
Anyone with information was asked to call the FBI tip line at (800) CALL-FBI. Video of the incident can be seen at www.fbi.gov/caexplosion.
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