Officers of justice have been dropped against Stephen Beal, arrested on suspicion of having explosives after an explosion killed his ex-girlfriend Ildiko Krajnyak on her day spa. Prosecutors filed court papers Tuesday in U. S. District Court to dismiss the single count of the possession of a non-destructive device against Beal. (AP/Facebook)
A Southern California man was arrested on suspicion of having explosives after an explosion killed his ex-girlfriend at her day spa has walked free after U.S. prosecutors said Tuesday that they had dropped the charges against him.
Stephen Beal was released from prison Sunday — a day after a judge approved prosecutors’ request to drop a single charge of possession of a non-destructive device, the U.s. attorney’s office said.
Beal, 59, was arrested during the investigation into the May 15 bombing that killed Ildiko Krajnyak in her Orange County spa, but he was never named as a suspect in the blast.
Federal researchers said they had discovered two improvised explosive devices, three firearms and more than 100 kilos of explosive material during a search that Beal allowed of his house.
Prosecutors dropped the charges after the FBI said it had questions about whether the material in the house on the legal definition of a “destructive device.”
Beal, a model-rocket hobbyist, told investigators he had no bombs and had no material for an explosion as powerful as the one he saw in the news.
Krajnyak, 48, was killed and two female clients were seriously injured when they opened a box that erupted in a fiery explosion at the spa in the city of Aliso Viejo, about 50 miles south of Los Angeles, detectives said.
The curtains were drawn on Beal’s home in Long Beach, and he did not answer the door or return messages sent to him by friends, on behalf of The Associated Press.
“I’m happy that he’s home. I feel sorry for him,” said Don Westerhoff, who lives on the other side of the street. “You may be able to build missiles and not be able to build a bomb that will blow up in a box.”
Beal told the researchers that he and Krajnyak had recently divided over the issues of exclusivity and finance, according to a statement submitted to the court by an FBI agent. But they remained business partners.
Krajnyak, a mother and a licensed cosmetologist, had just returned to California after visiting family in her native Hungary.
The Orange County district attorney’s office said that it would be an update on the investigation later Tuesday.