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Former St. John's University 'Dean of Mean' Cecilia Chang Commits Suicide
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6 Nov 2012 01:29 PM EST

-by Trista McKenzie, Contributing Writer; Image: Cecilia Chang (Image Source: Ellis Kaplan / New York Post)

Former Dean Cecilia Chang of St. John’s University has been found in her home in Queens, dead of apparent suicide after testifying in her defense Monday.

Nicknamed the “Dean of Mean,” Chang allegedly embezzled $1 million from the university and was also accused of using foreign students as personal servants, according to the New York Post.

Chang was found in her Jamaica Estates home, dead from allegedly hanging herself, at 7:38 a.m. on Tuesday morning. According to sources, this was her third suicide attempt after two unsuccessful tries.

Chang’s testimony, during which she admitted to drunkenly lying to the FBI about overseas bank accounts and to using students as servants, came against the advice of her lawyers and drew laughs from jurors. During the trial, she maintained that she did not steal the $1 million, according to the Daily News.

“That could be one of the reasons that she wanted to testify. Sayonara. Get it off her chest. We never know how an individual handles the pressure. She admitted everything on the stand,” said Judge Sterling Johnson Jr., who promised to keep the jury in place until Chang’s death was officially confirmed.

According to law enforcement officials, Chang attempted to slit her wrists and inhale gas from her fireplace. When this was unsuccessful, she hanged herself. When a member of her defense team went to pick her up for trial, Chang did not answer the door and the driver smelled gas, prompting a call to the authorities.

Judge Johnson labeled Chang’s death a “Shakespearean tragedy.”

The Ex-Dean’s son, who was visiting from Hawaii, was sent to her home to identify the body, according to defense lawyer Joel Cohen.

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