Two men convicted of murder in separate crimes connected to Foster City remain in state prison after one was denied parole for three more years and the other put off consideration while he contests rule violations for allegedly possessing R-rated movies and information on using a thumb drive.

John Christopher Smith, 58, and William Moalem, 72, came before the Board of Parole Hearings separately this week at Solano State Prison.

Smith, who was convicted of killing his girlfriend and dumping her body off the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, was denied another parole appearance for three years after a five-hour hearing at which the woman’s family attended in opposition.

Moalem, who has been denied parole three times since incarcerated in the murder-for-hire shooting of his business partner, requested a one-year waiver because he did not want to come before the board until his violation appeal is concluded. His next hearing will be scheduled for 2013.

Smith was convicted of second-degree murder in April 1991 and sentenced to 17 years to life for shooting his girlfriend in the back of the head during an argument at her East Bay home. Smith reportedly wrapped her body in weights before tossing it in the water but days later it floated to the surface and was carried to Foster City by the current.

Smith continues claiming the Oct. 22, 1989 homicide was a spontaneous shooting during the argument but has no good explanation why she was struck in the back of her head, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Thirteen years before, on Oct. 13, 1976, Moalem’s podiatrist business partner, Benjamin Hurwitz, was fatally shot while driving on State Route 92 in Foster City. The case grew cold for 23 years until 1998 when Moalem’s former wife revealed he had hired bar bouncer Richard Quilopras to kill Hurwitz. Moalem, who had financial problems, was the beneficiary of Hurwitz’s $60,000 life insurance policy and in the process of buying his podiatry business.

Moalem was convicted of first-degree murder in 1999 but there was no special circumstance law in 1976 so he was no barred from parole eligibility. However, at sentencing, Judge Dale Hahn said Moalem should never be released from prison, Wagstaffe said.

Quilopras, who was paid $6,000 to kill Hurwitz, also received a life sentence in the murder.

Before Moalem’s recent parole hearing, prison authorities issued Moalem a serious rules violation for allegedly possessing two R-rated movies, some yellow pages and information on using a thumb drive which are all forbidden items.

Michelle Durand can be reached by email: michelle@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.

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