Court transcript paints picture of successful woman who sought love
Ziba Guy’s attorney described her as a beautiful, successful woman who worked hard to live up to her parents’ expectations and time after time fell in love with the wrong kind of man, ultimately bringing her to ruin.
Guy, 46, once a successful ob-gyn in New York, was sentenced last month to more than four years in jail for her part in a murder-for-hire plot that unfolded in Milford two years ago.
A transcript of court proceedings, recently acquired by The Milford Mirror, paints a picture of a woman who had advantages in life but never knew the kind of love — from her parents or her male partners — that gave her the confidence in herself to prosper.
Guy was one of two people arrested in 2012 in connection with the alleged murder-for-hire plot.
Milford resident Gregory Christofakis, 51, is awaiting trial in the case. He and Guy were both arrested in 2012 on charges of plotting to kill her ex-husband and Christofakis’s estranged wife.
The twisted tale started in September 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 ex-husband, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
The man left the body shop and went home, and a month later he contacted police. Concerned that children might be present in one of the targeted homes, the man agreed to become a “cooperating witness” for police and help them confirm that what he was saying was true.
Police fitted their witness with an electronic surveillance device and followed as he met with Christofakis at Greg’s Auto Body.
With their witness wired for sound, police followed a car that the two men got into and listened to their conversation.
As they talked, Christofakis agreed to pay $20,000 “for both jobs.”
Later, the two men stopped at Shop Rite on Cherry Street, where they picked up Guy. Christofakis told Guy about his plan, and she at one point responded that she did not wish anyone to be killed, according to the arrest warrant.
Nevertheless, she wrote down the name and address of her ex-husband and even provided directions to his home, the warrant states.
Christofakis is charged with attempt to commit murder and conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree. He is being held on a $1-million bond and is awaiting trial.
Life of Guy
Guy’s attorney, Norman Pattis, said that while Guy appears to have come from a world of privilege that would preclude her involvement in such a tangled plot, that isn’t the case.
“It’s not the picture that the state talks about, from Ozzie and Harriet raising a privileged child in suburbia, who’s had all that life can offer her,” Pattis said.
Her parents were working class people who came to the United States from Huron, he said.
“She’s the only daughter, with three much older siblings, and the picture that emerges is that she’s a young woman who was never really loved and cherished in her own right,” Pattis said.
When Guy was sentenced in court June 18, no family members sat in the courtroom. Her mother drove her to court, from the Bronx, N.Y., and then dropped her off to avoid the shame of a daughter who compromised her family’s image.
“And on what is, undoubtedly, the worst day of Miss Guy’s life, the family has chosen to let her stand here alone and face the judgment of this court and of our community, and I think that speaks loudly about the factors that drove her...” Pattis said.
When she was younger, she told her parents she wanted to be a buyer in a department store. But her attorney said that wasn’t good enough for an honor-bound family. Pattis said Guy thought she could only get the unconditional love she wanted from her mother if she achieved as much as her brothers — one is a physician and another is very accomplished.
“So she goes back to school and acquires the prerequisites to go to medical school, goes to medical school, and done — excels, and returns and is eventually chief resident in an ob/gyn practice, but her heart never seemed to really be in the practice.”
Her attorney said she drifted through relationships. “Half of them involved violence against her by the men that she chose to love her,” Pattis said.
Her ex-husband owed her more than $100,000, according to court documents. And Christofakis, whom Pattis described as a “control freak,” demanded that she leave her medical practice to become his receptionist at his Milford auto body shop, Pattis said.
Pattis said the story of her life renders her a “pathetic” and “sad” figure, not the evil woman that her ex-husband and the charges against her would suggest.
“You get the impression that she was always lost, and that she remains somewhat lost, and that Mr. Christofakis found what he hoped, I guess, what would be his fifth wife, and he needed to clear the deck.”
It was Christofakis, Pattis alleged, who hatched a scheme to kill his estranged wife so he wouldn’t have to pay her alimony, and to also kill Guy’s former husband. Guy reportedly told Christofakis and their would-be assassin that she didn’t want to kill her ex-husband but would concede to hurting him — possibly breaking limbs. Even that, Pattis said, was a questionable move because Guy may have simply felt powerless to resist Christofakis’s plan.
A different picture
Assistant State’s Attorney Charles Stango presented a different picture of Guy, however, including a statement from her ex-husband in which he says he lives in fear of her, and that she always makes good on her threats against him.
Stango read a message that Guy reportedly left her ex-husband at some point after their split.
“You are a marked target,” the message states. “I am going to jail and you are going to hell. This time you went too far... Enjoy what is left of your life. With your own gun, you will be killed. Too much damage to too many people, you selfish [expletive]. Keep your friends close, if you have any, but your enemies closer. Crimes of passion get insanity deals. You will get what is coming to you. I will be there — I will be the last face you see when you go, mark my words. When you beg for your life, you will get your answer.”
Judge Frank Iannotti, in handing out his sentence, said that what troubled him most was that Guy was smart enough to put an end to the “troubling, serious and dangerous situation” that was unfolding, but she did nothing to stop it.
The judge pointed out that because Christofakis is still awaiting trial, he is presumed innocent.
Judge Iannotti agreed that life and family put a lot of stress on Guy and that she worked hard to live up to other people’s expectations rather than just living her own life.
But he struggled with the murder plot.
“The way I see it, at that time, at that moment, you were willing to let that go forward, and you were willing to let Mr. Christofakis’s estranged wife be killed ... and the injury of your ex-husband,” the judge said.
“Those are the facts that have troubled me from its inception, that someone of your intelligence and ability would have allowed someone to take the life of another person, and certainly to inure your ex-husband,” he said.
“You know you should have acted differently, but you didn’t,” the judge added.
On a charge of conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree, he sentenced Guy to 10 years in jail, suspended after 51 months, followed by five years of probation, somewhat lower than the state’s request for 12 years suspended after six. The judge also imposed a standing criminal protective order, which states that she may not contact or go near her ex-husband when she is released.