The last case on her docket the day she died was the one Costa Junior referred to during questioning in court: the execution of Diego Belini, 18, in a shantytown. One of Acioli's last acts as a judge was to order the arrest of Costa Junior and others.
There are 150 other judges across Brazil who reported death threats in 2012, according to the National Council for Justice. At last count, only 61 were under protection.
The public defender representing Costa Junior told O Globo that he was disappointed in the small reduction in the prison sentence, saying his client ran a significant risk denouncing his former comrades.
"Now he's going to be thrown into the penitentiary system, in the worst place possible, since those who tell on others can't even be kept with other prisoners because of threats on their life," attorney Jorge Mesquita said. "His family is going to suffer threats now."
The prosecutor welcomed the verdict, particularly the racketeering charge that recognized Costa Junior was operating within a gang.
"This will reinforce the prosecution's arguments in the next trials," prosecutor Leandro Navega told O Globo.
The next trial in the case, involving three defendants, is scheduled to begin Jan. 29, 2013.