Federal charges against a California man have been dropped weeks after his ex-girlfriend was killed and three others injured by an improvised explosive device.
According to KABC, 59-year-old Stephen Beal was initially arrested on May 16 in the wake of an explosion that occurred the previous day.
Ildiko Krajnyak, 48, reportedly died when she opened the package at a spa she owned in Aliso Viejo.
Though no longer romantically involved, Beal and Krajnyakj remained business partners, police say. Investigators never charged or publicly linked Beal to the construction of the device, which experts say was detonated intentionally.
Reports indicate an investigation netted evidence including two additional bombs, three guns and more than 100 pounds of explosives. Authorities determined that he was a model rocket hobbyist, but nevertheless arrested him on suspicion of possessing an unregistered destructive device.
Beal reportedly told detectives he had not built any bombs and never handled explosives powerful enough to cause the damage described in news coverage of the blast that killed his ex.
Police reports indicate much of the ceiling was destroyed in the blast and a large hole was blown through a wall. Two clients were among those taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries medical staff do not believe to be life threatening. Another individual was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
After his arrest, Beal was booked into jail and bail was denied.
It was the prosecution, however, that petitioned a judge to drop all charges against Beal following a review of the law. Attorneys now argue it is unclear two contraptions recovered from the man’s Long Beach home legally qualify as destructive devices.
The judge agreed to drop the charge on Saturday and Beal was released from custody the following day.
[Featured image: Raul Hernandez via AP]