A jury was chosen Wednesday in the trial of a Long Beach man accused of the 2018 bombing of an Aliso Viejo day spa that killed his ex-girlfriend and seriously injured two other women.
Opening statements are scheduled for Thursday morning in the downtown Los Angeles trial of Stephen Beal, 63, who faces federal charges of use of a weapon of mass destruction, malicious destruction of a building resulting in death, use of a destructive device in a crime of violence and possession of an unregistered destructive device.
The first two charges carry potential sentences of life in prison without parole, while the other two carry sentences of 30 and 10 years in prison, respectively, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Beal was arrested in March 2019 in connection with the May 15, 2018, explosion in Aliso Viejo that killed 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak, who co-owned the Magyar Kozmetica day spa with Beal.
Federal officials allege Beal had threatened the woman after she admitted being in a relationship with another man. They also claim pieces of wire found at the bombing scene matched wire discovered during a search Beal’s home. About a week before the explosion, Beal was seen on surveillance video purchasing the type of battery used in the explosive device, according to federal prosecutors.
Beal also allegedly purchased three cardboard boxes similar to the one that contained the bomb, and federal officials contend he was one of the few people to have access to the business and was seen at the spa days before the blast.
FBI officials said Krajnyak was killed when she opened a cardboard box near the front desk of the Magyar Kozmetica day spa, triggering the explosive device inside. Two other women inside the business were seriously injured.
Beal has been in federal custody since his arrest.
When investigators searched his home following the blast, they reported finding two improvised explosive devices, three unregistered firearms and more than 100 pounds of explosive material. Beal attributed the items to his hobby of building and launching model rockets.