A Long Beach man accused of bombing an Aliso Viejo day spa, killing his ex-girlfriend and seriously injuring two other women, pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges that could land him in prison for life.
Stephen Beal, 59, was indicted earlier this month on 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.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 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.
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Beal is next due in court for a status conference April 26. A trial date of May 7 was also set.
Private attorney Richard Novak will join Beal's public defender on his legal team, according to court records. Beal was arrested March 3 in connection with the May 15, 2018, explosion at 11 Mareblu that killed 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak, who co-owned the Magyar Kozmetica day spa with Beal.
Beal had been arrested the day after the blast and charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device, but prosecutors later dropped the charge and he was released.
Following his arrest earlier this month, Beal was indicted March 13 on the four federal counts. Federal officials said Beal had threatened the woman after she admitted being in a relationship with another man.
They also said 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 the FBI.
Beal also allegedly purchased three cardboard boxes similar to the one that contained the bomb, and federal officials said 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 last year 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 remains jailed without bail.
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.