Federal judge sentences convicted package bomber to life for killing ex-girlfriend, injury of two others

A Long Beach, Calif. man was sentenced on Friday, January 19 to life plus an additional 30 years in federal prison for building and planting a package bomb that detonated inside an Aliso Viejo day spa in May 2018. The bombing killed an ex-girlfriend, severely injuring two spa clients, and causing significant damage to a commercial office building.

Stephen William Beal, 64, was sentenced by United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton, who said during Friday's hearing in Los Angeles, “The cold, calculated nature of this crime is chilling.”

Beal was convicted of four felonies in July 2023 following a four-week trial. Those felonies include the use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, malicious destruction of a building resulting in death, use of a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, and possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Judge Staton sentenced Beal to life imprisonment on the first two counts, a consecutive 30-year prison sentence on the third count, and a 10-year concurrent sentence on the fourth count.

“Mr. Beal callously murdered a loving mother, maimed two other victims, and put at risk many others in the vicinity, including children and teachers at a nearby preschool,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said. “Mr. Beal’s wanton disregard for the lives of others warranted the severe sentence that the court imposed, which should send a clear message that our community will not tolerate such acts of violence."

The bomb Beal made exploded at a commercial office building in Aliso Viejo at approximately 1:05 p.m. on May 15, 2018. The explosion instantly killed 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak – who owned Magyar Kozmetika, a day spa located in the office building – and permanently injured two of her clients: a mother and her daughter.

During the investigation that led to Beal's arrest, law enforcement found more than 130 pounds of explosive precursor chemicals and completed explosive mixtures, as well as electric matches and wires. Beal had years of experience building high-powered model rockets and homemade pyrotechnics, and laboratory testing determined that the explosive mixture Beal used in the bomb contained the same chemical he had at his home.

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