‘I hate myself for what I did’: California teen accused of killing mom claims self-defense
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Emily Evil Reznick said her mother administered beatings, filled her head with lies and overmedicated her.
And on July 7, her mom tried to kill her, the teen said. Reznick, 16, claimed in letters from Juvenile Hall she and her boyfriend, Nikolai Thorn Roach, fought back in self-defense.
Authorities called to the Oildale home found Michelle Louise Taylor, 54, dead with a stab wound to her neck. Reznick and Roach were arrested on suspicion of murder.
“My own (expletive) mom try (sic) to kill me and I did all I could to get her off and my BF was there and saved my life that morning,” Reznick wrote in a letter from Juvenile Hall that month.
In dozens of letters by Reznick shared with KTLA’s sister station 17 News, she wrote about the boredom of life in custody, her plans for a possible career as a nurse and her love for Roach.
She repeatedly wrote about the mixed feelings she has for her mother.
“I hate my mom a lot but loved her cuz (sic) she was my mom,” Reznick wrote in a letter dated Aug. 12. “I will never ever forgive her for what she has put me through and did to me at the end and all the lies she put me through too.”
A close friend
Through her writings, Reznick implied both she and Roach were 15 at the time of Taylor’s killing, meaning if convicted they can only be held in custody until they turn 25.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Kinzel said he could not comment on Reznick’s case or the abuse allegations.
In her letters, written to friend Kenneth Eagles, Reznick expressed hope she and Roach will get married when released.
“I want to be out as soon as I can,” she wrote in a letter dated Sept. 3. “I want to be free and with Nik. I need him the most tbh I need to know how he’s doing, he makes me feel safe, he’s my everything.”
In another letter, dated Sept. 6, Reznick said, “Not going to lie to you Ken I hate myself a lot for what I did I cry about being here and I feel alone . . .”
Reznick said in the same letter, “I did not mean to (expletive) kill her that was like the last thing I wanted to happen.”
Eagles, 70, told 17 News he believes Renzick suffered years of abuse, both verbal and physical, from Taylor. He witnessed bruises and cuts on her, including marks around her neck.
“These weren’t little bruises,” Eagles said.
He met Reznick about four years ago, when she was 12 and lived near him in the area of Taft Highway and South H Street. Eagles said he was known as the “grandfather type” and knew most of the neighborhood kids.
One time around midnight, as he drove into the apartment complex, he saw Reznick outside by herself. He asked her why she didn’t go home and she said she couldn’t because of her mother, Eagles said. He didn’t pry but said it wasn’t safe for her to be out that late.
Reznick began stopping over regularly and their friendship grew, Eagles said. He began learning more about her.
“She just felt very comfortable over there and safe, and that was important to me,” he said.
Alleged abuse escalates
Eagles found out Reznick’s father died months earlier from what she said was a scorpion bite.
Soon Eagles started noticing bruises. He said Reznick eventually confided in him that Taylor beat her.
“She reminded him of her father, and the mom hated the father,” Eagles said Reznick told him.
The abuse got worse as she got older, Eagles said. Reznick fought back once when she was 14, he said.
“She was so proud of herself when she said, ‘My mom tried to hurt me bad and I pushed her back this time,'” Eagles said.
Reznick told him she knocked Taylor down. She said Taylor laughed and threatened to call the police and report her for abusing a senior, Eagles said.
Taylor and Reznick moved to Oildale, where the abuse continued, Eagles said, escalating to the point where Taylor “was boxing (Reznick) like she would a man.”
On June 7, Eagles read a report on the 17 News website saying a woman had been killed in Oildale. The next day he read two teens were arrested.
“Of course I broke down,” Eagles said of his reaction upon realizing who the teens were. “But I knew it was self-defense.”
Eagles said the situation breaks his heart because he knows Reznick loved her mother and Taylor, despite the abuse, loved her. He said Taylor would often buy gifts for Reznick after hitting her in an attempt to try to make up for what she’d done.
“She still tells me, ‘I love my mom and I have nightmares every night,'” Eagles said.
Reznick expressed that sentiment in her letters, the confusion of hating her mother yet still loving her. Feeling remorse over what happened yet claiming it was self-defense.
“I hate myself for what I did,” Reznick wrote in an Aug. 16 letter.
She’s not the only one, according to her letters. Some of the teens in Juvenile Hall hate her, she said. They don’t refer to her by name.
“I get called the ‘mom killer,'” Reznick wrote.