BOSTON (CBS) – The families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado are “devastated” that Aaron Hernandez was acquitted in their murders.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley met with de Abreu and Furtado’s family members after the verdict was read.

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“They were expecting a better outcome, as was I, as was my office,” Conley said.

WBZ-TV’s Louisa Moller reports

The former Patriots star was acquitted of all charges in the 2012 shooting in Boston’s South End, with the exception of possession of a firearm without a license.

Conley says the case was always about the victims.

“What we never do, in any of our cases, is identify a suspect and build a case around a suspect. That’s ridiculous,” Conley said. “What we always do is follow the evidence where it leads us and in this case it led us, inescapably to Aaron Hernandez.”

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Daniel de Abreu (left) and Safiro Furtado. (WBZ-TV graphic)

Conley says the prosecution put forward a very strong case, and has no regrets. He says it was his decision to cooperate with key witness Alexander Bradley and he stands by it.

“What Alexander Bradley told us early on in this investigation checked out in so many intricate details that we felt his statement and his testimony was credible and would be believed by a jury,” Conley said.

Defense attorneys suggested that it was Bradley who committed the murders.

“For a year we had no idea Aaron Hernandez would be the man ultimately charged with this,” Conley said. “This just points out how difficult it is to solve a drive-by shooting.”

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Jurors deliberated for nearly six days and about 36 hours before reaching the verdict Friday just before 3 p.m.