It’s almost t-minus one week to Halloween, and despite having sworn that this year I would really do it right and plan my costume way in advance, my current idea is little more than a woozy pipe dream: I will sew my own Max from “Where the Wild Things Are” jumper. But let’s be real. I’ll probably just do what I always do — head to Goodwill the day of and pray for inspiration to strike. When it does, I’ll be sure to have this nifty 20%-off coupon with me (hat tip to SF Appeal).

It’s a good thing it’s Friday, because that’s the only levity you’re getting in this edition of Today’s Mission.

Five alleged Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members have been charged and indicted on murder charges that could carry the death penalty, the Chronicle reported yesterday.

Two of them — Jonathan Cruz-Ramirez and Guillermo Herrera — were charged for a murder in the Mission District on July 11, 2008. Armando Estrada, then 30, was shot and killed with a sawed-off gun outside Ritmo Latino on 20th and Mission streets by two men wearing bandanas in broad daylight, according to the Examiner.

Cruz-Ramirez was also indicted for killing 34-year-old Juan Rodriguez in May 2008 in the Excelsior.

Herrera was part of a 52-count federal indictment against him and 28 other alleged members of the MS-13 gang on Oct. 24, 2008, said another Examiner report. This bust, according to the Chronicle, was the result of a three-year federal investigation run out of a Richmond export warehouse.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holden must approve the capital charges for the five men in the event that prosecutors decide to seek the death penalty.

Notorious “Night Stalker” serial killer Richard Ramirez, currently sitting on death row at San Quentin, was served with a warrant yesterday to provide a DNA sample. Investigators found that the DNA he has on file matches that at the scene of an unsolved rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in 1984, the Associated Press reported.

If the match is confirmed, the district attorney will decide whether or not to press charges. Ramirez was convicted for 13 murders, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries in 1989.

Mission Loc@l reporter Patrick Kollman reported yesterday on just how DNA databases are getting so large — and what potential risks are involved.

Now for a few nuggets of good news:

The Senate approved legislation yesterday expanding the definition of a hate crime to include violence based on one’s sexual orientation, said the LA Times. It already passed in the House earlier this month and will go to Obama’s desk next.

The New York Times is now running a special Bay Area Report in its Thursday and Sunday print editions. Check out the highlights from yesterday.

Mission resident Toshio Meronek helped create Where’s Lulu, a Yelp-type site for disability access. Users can rate places based on their personal experiences with things such as menu readability and wheelcair access.

Be sure to check out Brooke Minter’s preview of the Between the Sheets party tonight and tomorrow at The Secret Alley, which will feature bands, music, street food and general whimsy. And don’t miss the opportunity to watch everyday people share their most embarrassing journals, letters and photos at Mortified, this Friday and Saturday night at the Makeout Room.

TGIF! Wait, did I already say that? Consider it my refrain.


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Vanessa loves reporting for Mission Loc@l because of the many ways it deepens her connection to the Mission District, which she has called home for the past four years.

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