With the "Tech Rapist" terrorizing women near Texas Tech University campus, no one was safe. On the night of March 24, 1985, Texas Tech sophomore student Michele Mallin was in a church parking lot across from her dormitory in Lubbock, Texas parking her car. She was approached by an African-American man who asked her to help him start his car with some jumper cables. After she had explained how she didn't have any cables, he proceeded to reach inside her car window and unlock her door. Michele then screamed and bit the man's thumb, when s he then noticed he was holding a knife. He stuck it to her throat and threatened to slit her throat so she would shut up. Still holding the knife to her throat, he forced her to lay down in the car as he proceeded to get in the driver's seat of her car. From here the rapist drove to a vacant field outside of town and forced her to perform oral sex and then vaginally raped her. The rapist then drove back into Lubbock, where he took $2 in cash, a ring and a watch from Michele and then fled on foot. She then called the police and reported the attack. .
During the investigation of the rape, Mallin gave very few details of her attacker. She was a white female and described her rapist as a young African-American man wearing a yellow shirt and sandals. She also said that he smoked cigarettes throughout the attack. The first instinct of the authorities was that the attacker was probably the well-known "Tech Rapist" that was still on the loose and around campus, so they started surveillance on campus. Timothy Brian Cole was a 26-year-old Army veteran who was studying business there at Texas Tech. The night of the attack on Mallin, Cole was home studying while his brother hosted a card game. About two weeks after the attack, Cole went down to a pizza place near campus and happen to speak with a female detective outside of the restaurant. After the conversation Cole became a suspect and the detective proceeded to go to his house to get a polaroid picture of him.