People in court Monday, including his lawyer William F. Dow III, described former Milford businessman Greg Christofakis as a “stupid” man just before Christofakis was sentenced to 15 years in prison, suspended after seven years served, for his role in a 2012 murder-for-hire plot that targeted his ex-wife and his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.

But Judge John Ronan said he didn’t buy that Christofakis was stupid.

“You are not an unintelligent person,” Judge Ronan said. “You were successful in business, so you were capable.”

Christofakis, who owned an auto body shop on New Haven Avenue, pleaded guilty in August to charges of attempt to commit murder and another offense under the Alford doctrine, meaning he acknowledged there is enough evidence for a conviction. The plea carries a finding of guilty by the court, the New Haven Register reported in August.

During sentencing Monday, his lawyer said Christofakis has “limited abilities,” and that his drug use, past criminal record and emotional makeup made him a victim to the smarter Ziba Guy, who was sentenced last June for her role in the plot.

Guy, a former New York doctor, was sentenced to 10 years in jail, suspended after 51 months (4.25 years), followed by five years of probation.

According to court documents, the twisted tale appeared to start in September of 2012 when Christofakis was in court and bumped into a man he met when the two were in jail together. Christofakis, owner of Greg’s Auto Body on New Haven Avenue, brought the man back to the auto body shop and started talking to him about killing his former wife and his girlfriend’s former boyfriend, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The man left the body shop and went home, and a month later he contacted police about the plot. Police subsequently wired the informant for sound and recorded conversations he had with Christofakis and Guy.

“His entire history is one of stupidity — one of stupid acts,” Attorney Dow said as he asked for a lighter sentence for Christofakis than that being considered and that which the judge ultimately set.

He said Guy started prescribing Christofakis Adderall. Then the two went to a Milford psychiatrist, Dr. Ljudmil Kljusev, for more prescriptions. Kljusev, also known as Dr. K., was arrested recently on a federal criminal complaint charging him with distributing narcotics outside the scope of professional practice.

Dow said Christofakis should get a lighter sentence than what Guy received, arguing that she was the driving force behind the plot.

“Our belief is that it was the calculating and pernicious influence of a defrocked doctor who pushed him around like a kitten with a ball of string,” Dow said.

Christofakis’ ex-wife also stuck up for him. According to statements made in court Monday, she told state officials that she did not want to see Christofakis punished, that she did not think he intended to kill her and that he was led astray by Guy, whom he was trying to impress.

But Judge Ronan said he didn’t believe Guy was the mastermind: taped conversations recorded Guy saying that she did not want to see anyone killed, though she did not shy away from seeing her former boyfriend maimed in some way.

“You put this together,” Ronan said to Christofakis. “It was you.”

“No thanks to you no one was injured and no one was killed,” the judge added, noting that the informant foiled the plan by going to the police.

Ronan said that Christofakis entered the "big leagues" with the murder-for-hire plot after years of arrests and convictions on such charges as domestic abuse and assault.

Christofakis’ sentence also comes with five years of probation, plus restraining orders for his would-be victims and the informant, substance abuse treatment, anger management and other conditions.

State’s Attorney Kevin Lawlor described Christofakis as a “train wreck” who always tried to lay the blame for his actions on others.

Christofakis read a statement just before his sentencing, asking the judge to return him to his family and assign him to outpatient therapy.

“I am deeply sorry for my actions and words,” Christofakis said. He told the judge he was afraid he was going to lose Guy as a girlfriend and that’s why he acted as he did.

“But I was responsible because I allowed Ziba to come into my life,” he said.

Christofakis has been held for the past three years in the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, a facility his lawyer said is “the worst of the worst,” a level five prison.

“Greg is not the worst of the worst,” Dow said, adding that he hopes Christofakis is not returned there but rather sent to a different facility.