Cecilia Chang, the former St. John's University dean accused of stealing $1 million from the school as well as indenturing scholarship students as her slaves, had been on trial for the charges. Yesterday, she admitted to taking money to pay for her son's graduate school and making students handwash her underwear but also testified, "I am always helping some poor students." However, today Chang's body was found by her son.

According to the Daily News, "Chang’s body was discovered in her Queens home after her son Steven, who lives in Hawaii but was here for the trial, tried unsuccessfully to reach her by phone and then called 911. Firefighters broke down the door and found her at 7:38 a.m. hanging from a folding ladder leading to the attic. She had apparently tried to slash her wrist — police found a bloody knife on the kitchen floor — and gas herself with the fireplace before resorting to the noose, sources said."

Chang's testimony on Monday was described as " belligerent and often incoherent" by the News and prosecutors had a lot of evidence, from charges for repairs to her Mercedes on the school credit card and former students describing their servitude (which included transporting boxes of liquor to Foxwoods). The NY Times reports:

Under direct examination from her lawyer, Stephen R. Mahler, Dr. Chang, 59, rebutted the accusations.

Yes, the students washed her clothes, but only because they asked to.

Yes, she spent much of the year living in a suite at Foxwoods, but her friends, potential donors whom she sometimes referred to as V.I.P.’s, expected to be entertained.

Yes, she bought countless personal items on the school credit card, but only because she had first spent hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket without being reimbursed — including for the purchase of dozens of tailored suits for the university president from the finest haberdasher in Hong Kong.

Chang, who had been head of the Institute of Asian Studies, reportedly left a note behind, but it was in Chinese so it's being translated. The federal judge called a mistrial, saying the death was "a Shakespearean tragedy."