MEDIA, Pa. -- Sylvia Seegrist, accused of killing three people in a shopping mall shooting rampage, was a 'normal' child, but was sexually abused by her grandfather and became a troubled teenager, her mother told a jury.
Ruth Seegrist testified Friday that her daughter's paternal grandfather exposed and fondled himself in front of Sylvia when she was 8 years old.
Seegrist said she did not learn about the incident until Sylvia was 13. When the two discussed it, Seegrist said Sylvia told her, 'But momma, you don't know how intimate our relationship was.'
Sylvia Seegrist, 25, of Crum Lynne, is on trial in Delaware County Common Pleas Court on three counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder.
She is accused of killing three people and wounding seven others as she randomly fired a semi-automatic rifle at shoppers while walking through Springfield Mall in suburban Philadelphia last Oct. 30.
Some store employees at the mall called her 'Ms. Rambo' because of her fondness for wearing camouflage combat fatigues and black boots.
'She was what I call a normal kid,' Ruth Seegrist told the jury. 'She enjoyed playing with other kids. She loved to go to the park and swing and slide. She loved her grandparents.'
Seegrist said when Sylvia was a teenager she began to worry that her father was disappointed that she was not a boy. She and her husband took Sylvia to a psychiatrist when she was 15 years old because she had become moody, difficult and sexually promiscuous.
Defense attorneys have said they would establish that Seegrist was legally insane at the time of the shootings.
But Assistant District Attorney William Ryan said he planned to prove that Seegrist, who has a history of mental illness, planned the assault and knew exactly what she was doing.
The trial, which has been conducted amidst metal detectors and tight security, was delayed about 30 minutes Friday after a man called police and said 'something about a bomb' in the county courthouse, said Delaware County Sheriff Joseph Battle. No bomb was found.
In other testimony at the trial, Springfield police Det. R. W. Sweisfurth Jr. said he was sitting in the back seat of a patrol car with Seegrist after the shooting rampage.
He testified Seegrist said: 'You know I'm guilty. Go ahead and execute me, but do it quick and do it proper. Sir, would you do it quick and do it proper?'
Delaware County prison guard Maragaret Davis said she was assigned to sit outside Seegrist's cell from about midnight on Oct. 30 until 8 a.m. the next day and to write down what the prisoner said.
'It was impossible to write down everything Sylvia said. She talked constantly,' said Davis, who read to the jury various entries from her notes of that night. One of the first entries read: '... all children should die.'