Travis Alexander was born on July 28, 1977, in Riverside, California to Gary David Alexander (1948-1997) and Pamela Elizabeth Morgan Alexander (1953–2005). His early childhood was difficult largely because both of his parents were drug addicts. At the age of 11, Travis moved in with his paternal grandparents, Norma Jean Preston Alexander Sarvey (1932–2012) and her husband James Sarvey (1938–2002), who introduced him to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After his father's death in July 1997, his seven siblings were also taken in by their paternal grandmother. Alexander was a salesman and motivational speaker for Pre-Paid Legal Services (PPL).
Jodi Arias was born on July 9, 1980, in Salinas, California to william and Sandra (née Allen) Arias. She and Alexander met in September 2006 at a PPL conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Arias converted to Alexander's Mormon faith and, on November 26, 2006, was baptized into the LDS Church in a ceremony in southern California. Alexander and Arias began dating in February 2007. Arias moved to Mesa to live with Alexander. In March 2007, she moved to Yreka, California, and lived there with her grandparents.
The case featured on an episode of 48 Hours Mystery: Picture Perfect in 2008, an interview which, for the first time in the history of 48 Hours, was used as evidence in a death penalty trial. On September 24, 2008, Inside Edition interviewed Arias at the Maricopa County Jail where she stated, "No jury is going to convict me...because I am innocent and you can mark my words on that. No jury is going to convict me."
On April 6, 2009, a motion to reconsider the defendant's motion to disqualify the Maricopa County District Attorney's Office was denied. On May 18, the court ordered Arias to submit to IQ and competency testing. Later, in January 2011, a defense filing detailed the efforts to which Arias' attorneys went to obtain text messages and emails. The prosecution initially told the defense attorneys that there were no available text messages sent or received by Alexander, and then was ordered to turn over several hundred such messages. Mesa police detective Esteban Flores told defense attorneys that there was nothing "out of the ordinary" among Alexander's emails; about 8,000 were turned over to the defense in June 2009.
On May 24, Victoria Washington, who was one of Arias' attorneys until she had to resign in 2011 because of a conflict, said "Arias' lead attorney, Nurmi, was pilloried in social media. At one point, an Internet denizen digitally superimposed his face onto a crime-scene photo of Alexander dead in the shower of his Mesa home. I know people were aggravated with him constantly filing for mistrial, but you have to make and preserve the record for federal review (on appeal). If you don't file for mistrial, the appeals courts will say you waived it."
On May 20, 2012, defense attorneys again filed for mistrial. The motion alleged that a defense witness who had been due to testify the preceding Friday, the 17th, began receiving threats, including threats on her life if she were to testify on Arias' behalf. The day before the filing, the witness contacted counsel for Arias, stating that she was no longer willing to testify due to these threats. The motion continued, "It should also be noted that these threats follow those made to Alyce LaViolette, a record of which was made ex-parte and under seal." The motion was denied, as was a motion for a stay in the proceedings that had been sought to give time to appeal the decisions to the Arizona Supreme Court.
In late January 2013, artwork drawn by Arias began selling on eBay. The seller was her brother; he claimed that the profits went towards covering the family's travel expenses to the trial and "better food" for Arias while she was in jail.
The Associated Press reported that, as of November 3, 2014, "the public should be able to watch testimony in the Jodi Arias trial". This decision by a three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals overruled Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens' decision to "allow a witness to testify in private as jurors [weighed] whether to give [Arias] the death penalty". The case, which has been at times broadcast around the world, has since the conclusion of the first trial been marked by secrecy, as Judge Stephens held secret (non-public) hearings. As a result of the move for "secrecy," an unidentified defense witness was allowed to testify in private. Though Judge Stephens’ decision has been overruled, "the mystery witness who testified…at the start of the defense case" (Associated Press) hasn't been revealed to the public.
On March 6, 2015, after the retrial of the penalty phase concluded, it was reported that juror #17, the sole holdout, received death threats and police were posted at her house. Dennis Elias, a jury consultant, said, "The very fact that people are making death threats and trying to out her, it is not a proud day for any single one of those people and they should be ashamed."
Former detective for Siskiyou County, California, who arrested Arias at her grandparents’ home after it appeared she was on the move, is coming forward. He discusses his involvement in the explosive investigation and trial in the three-part limited series, that aired mid-January 2018, on Investigation Discovery (ID) titled “Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery.” The special explores the death of Alexander and the subsequent legal circus as Arias was tried.