Authorities in central California have dropped criminal charges against Stephen Beal, the former boyfriend and business partner of a spa owner who died in an explosion at her facility two weeks ago.
Beal was released from jail Sunday, after the U.S. Attorney's office asked a federal judge to drop charges of possession of an unregistered destructive device against him.
Prosecutors say in a motion to dismiss charges that "Further examination by the Federal Bureau of Investigation raises questions as to whether the devices meet the statutory definition for a 'destructive device ...'"
Beal was arrested after his former girlfriend, Ildiko Krajnyak, was killed May 14 after opening a package bomb delivered to her spa. Two other people were injured.
Beal was not charged in connection with the blast, but was charged after investigators found devices at his home.
In the hours after the incident, Beal contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Investigators went to Beal's residence, where he gave deputies consent to search his home, prosecutors said. Investigators say they found a seven-foot tall rocket, rocket-making equipment, and at least three containers of black powder.
As outlined in a criminal complaint, investigators also found two improvised explosive devices and three firearms at Beal's home, as well as "precursor chemicals, energetic materials, e-matches, variously sized cardboard and modified rocket tubes."
Beal told investigators he is a model rocket hobbyist, but has not touched the rocket-making equipment on his property in 14 years. In reference to the day spa blast, he claimed he "did not have material to create an explosion that large," according to the complaint.
Beal and Krajnyak met about 1 1/2 years ago, authorities said. They began a romantic relationship and opened the day spa shortly thereafter. Their personal relationship ended in February or March 2018, but they remained business partners, Beal told investigators, the court document says.