A 64-year-old Long Beach man was sentenced Friday morning to life in prison, followed by 30 additional years, for killing his ex-girlfriend and injuring two other people by bombing an Aliso Viejo day spa in 2018.

“Stephen William Beal’s crimes are some of the most heinous seen in this district,” federal authorities said in a sentencing memo this week. “… a lifetime of imprisonment is the only appropriate sentence for defendant’s horrific offenses.”

Beal was convicted at a retrial last year of using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, 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.

Federal authorities say Beal used his experience with pyrotechnics and model rockets to rig a cardboard box with a bomb, which he then placed inside Magyar Kozmetika, a spa in Aliso Viejo owned by his ex-girlfriend Ildiko Krajnyak.

Ildiko Krajnyak was killed on May 15, 2018, when a bomb built by her ex-boyfriend Stephen Beal detonated inside a spa she owned in Orange County. Photo courtesy of the United States Attorney’s Office.

The bomb detonated when Krajnyak opened the box near the front desk. The force of the explosion killed Krajnyak instantly and injured two of her clients who were inside the salon at the time.

“This bomb went off at lunchtime in a busy commercial office building on a weekday,” federal authorities said in the memo. “The fact that only one person died and only two others were hospitalized is pure luck and nothing less than a miracle.”

“Defendant’s callousness, depravity, and complete disregard for human life was sociopathic,” the memo continued.

Beal was arrested following the explosion on suspicion of having explosives but he was released after prosecutors dropped the charge, saying they had questions about whether material found in Beal’s house met the legal definition of a “destructive device.”

He was rearrested again a year later in connection to the bombing. While jailed, he pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges after admitting to receiving more than $1 million in fraudulent disability payments and Social Security benefits, according to authorities.

Trial in Beal’s case began in 2022, with prosecutors casting him as being “obsessed and infatuated” with his ex-girlfriend while his defense attorney said the FBI arrested the wrong person and ignored “obvious suspects.”

Federal prosecutors said that Beal had become upset when Krajnyak told him she needed “space” from their relationship. Eventually, during a trip to Europe, Beal found out Krajnyak was seeing other people, authorities said.

During a trip to Mexico in which Beal hoped to “win her back,” the 64-year-old found out that Krajnyak no longer was interested in him romantically, federal prosecutors said.

While Krajnyak went on a trip to her native Hungary, Beal formulated a plan to kill her, federal prosecutors said.

Beal was seen on surveillance video purchasing the type of battery used in the explosive device about a week before the explosion. Prosecutors said Beal also purchased three cardboard boxes similar to the one that contained the bomb.

Then, using explosive chemicals and wires he already had in his house from his hobby building model rockets, he made the bomb, federal prosecutors said.

Beal’s attorney argued that the 64-year-old had no motive to kill Krajnyak and cast them as “lovers, close friends and business partners.”

He argued that the explosive materials found inside Beal’s home had no connection to the bomb and were only used to make rockets and fireworks.

A federal judge later declared the case a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict. But federal prosecutors again tried the case in 2023, and Beal was ultimately found guilty of carrying out the bombing.

“He wanted her dead simply because she didn’t want to continue their romantic relationship,” the judge said at Friday’s sentencing, adding that the murder took place months after the couple broke up

“The defendant apparently decided revenge is a dish best-served cold.”

City News Service contributed to this report.