Long Beach Man sentenced to life for Aliso Viejo day spa explosion, killing ex-girlfriend

CBS News Los Angeles

Stephen Beal, 64, of Long Beach was sentenced Friday to life plus 30 years in federal prison for a 2018 day spa bombing that killed his his ex-girlfriend.

A downtown Los Angeles judge called the crimes "chilling," as Beal plotted to murder 48-year-old Ildiko Kranjnyak and carried out his plans at the Aliso Viejo day spa that he co-owned with her.

Jealousy and revenge prompted Beal to bomb the Magyar Kozmetika spa where Kranjnyak was killed and two others were permanently injured.

"He wanted her dead simply because she didn't want to continue their romantic relationship," the judge said, adding that the murder took place months after the couple broke up. "The defendant apparently decided revenge is a dish best served cold." 

On May 15, 2018, Krajnyak was killed when she opened a brown cardboard package that had been on the floor near the front counter of the business. Two other women who were in the day spa at the time of the explosion suffered significant burns and other injuries.

Beal planted the bomb because he was jealous that Krajnyak was in another relationship, according to federal investigators.

"In the months leading up to the explosion, Ms. Krajnyak admitted to being in a relationship with another man, and her relationship with Mr. Beal ended," U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said. "Mr. Beal himself admitted to feeling betrayed. Ms. Krajnyak told friends that she was scared of being harmed by Mr. Beal, and that he had made threats."

Beal was previously arrested just one day after the blast. However, that arrest was not directly tied to the bombing. 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 Long Beach house.

He was released and the charges were dropped on May 29 when investigators said the material appeared to be part of his rocket-building hobby. Beal had not been officially named a suspect in the blast.

In the ensuing months, investigators were able to find evidence tying Beal to the explosion.

Beal was one of few people to have access to the business and was seen at the spa days before the blast, authorities disclosed. 

An undated photograph of 40-year-old Ileiko Krajnyak, who was killed in an explosion in Aliso Viejo, Calif., on March 15, 2018. (Facebook)

Meanwhile, Long Beach police previously said they were reopening a case into the death of another Beal love interest — his late wife who reportedly died while moving furniture back in 2008.

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