Mistrial declared for Long Beach man accused of deadly Orange County spa bombing

A man accused of planting a bomb at an Orange County day spa in 2018 that killed his ex-girlfriend will face a new trial in October after a federal jury in Los Angeles was unable to return a verdict on Monday .

Stephen Beal, 63, is accused of making an explosive device that ripped through the Magyar Kozmetika Spa in Aliso Viejo in May 2018, killing 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak and injuring two others.

The case before the US District Court in Los Angeles ended in a mistrial.

A new trial is scheduled for Oct. 18, said Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

“We look forward to seeing him in court,” McEvoy said.

Beal was arrested by FBI agents in March 2019 and his charges included using a weapon of mass destruction, maliciously destroying a building resulting in death, using a destruction device in a violent crime, and possessing an unregistered destruction device.

“This is a case of obsession, infatuation and control,” Assistant US Atty said. Annamartine Salick said in her opening statement, according to the City News Service.

When Krajnyak rejected Beal and made no secret of dating other men, “he channeled his humiliation to hatch a revenge plan,” the prosecutor said.

Federal public defenders representing Beal did not respond to The Times request for comment.

Craig Harbough, his defense attorney, told jurors the FBI was “desperate to find the person responsible as soon as possible,” according to the City News Service. Authorities immediately chose Beal after he called the police upon hearing of the blast and underwent three interviews over a 12-hour period.

Beal “had nothing to hide,” Harbaugh told jurors, claiming the FBI “disregarded clear evidence of Mr. Beal’s innocence.” According to the defense, he had no motive to harm Krajnyak.

Long Beach native Beal and Krajnyak dated for about two years, but their relationship collapsed months before the deadly blast.

The two opened the spa together during their relationship and decided to remain business partners despite the end of their romantic pairing. At the time of the bombing, Beal was still paying monthly rent for the property on which the spa operated, records show.

The surviving victims told investigators they saw Krajnyak opening a box just before the blast, an affidavit said.

Beal has been an interesting person since the investigation began. A search of his home and vehicle found two complete improvised explosive devices, two cardboard tubes, batteries, a 9 volt battery connector, 130 pounds of explosives and precursors, two handguns and a shotgun.

At the time, he told investigators that he built model rockets, court records show.

A day after his arrest, investigators said they found parts of the explosive device, including a destroyed battery and pieces of wire. Forensic analysis showed “no significant differences” between pieces of wire found at the scene and wiring found in a home-made explosive device investigators found at Beal’s, authorities said.

In the days leading up to the blast, Beal also purchased a battery and several boxes that matched the material used in the manufacture and shipping of the device that exploded at the spa, authorities said.

Several of Krajnyak’s friends told investigators Beal threatened them and described him as “jealous, controlling and possessive.”

The friends did not name Beal but were able to identify him from a photograph, authorities said.

The City News Service contributed to this report.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-22/mistrial-declared-for-long-beach-man-accused-of-deadly-orange-county-spa-bombing Mistrial declared for Long Beach man accused of deadly Orange County spa bombing

Alley Einstein

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