The case has gripped the country and affected the reputation of the police. It prompted President Joko Widodo to order the police, among others, to take measures to regain public trust.
Sambo was suspended from his position 10 days after the murder, and from the police force at the end of August.
The court was told that Sambo ordered the murder of 27-year-old Mr Hutabarat, who was a police sergeant assigned to guard Sambo’s family, after his wife Putri Candrawathi accused him of raping her.
However, the couple has failed to present evidence to support the rape claim.
Candrawathi is also on trial and her sentence is due later on Monday. Prosecutors recommended an eight-year imprisonment for her.
Sambo is the first former high-ranking police officer to be sentenced to death in a criminal case.
Besides Sambo and his wife, the case also involves three other main defendants Ricky Rizal, Kuat Ma’ruf and Richard Eliezer.
Rizal was Candrawathi’s bodyguard while Ma’ruf was Sambo’s personal assistant.
They will be sentenced on Tuesday for allegedly knowing about the murder in advance and being present at the scene when Mr Hutabarat was shot.
Eliezer, who was also Sambo’s bodyguard at the time of the murder, is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday.
He faces 12 years imprisonment for fatally shooting Mr Hutabarat on Sambo’s order.