Me: "Why not?"
Gerry need not be alarmed; I was being facetious. I would never smite a character just to annoy my friends who like that character. Character deaths are determined solely by the story.
Making my friends mad is a bonus. ;-D
Nonfacetiously: A reader's reaction to a character's death was the first time I truly felt the power a writer can wield. I thought of all those times I cried out, "No! Not [character's name]!" because I'd come to care for that character, and then realized that a reader was saying that to me, about one of my characters. (The reader also called me a bitch - goodness me, such language! - but I did take a perfectly nice character and turn him into roadkill, so I may have earned that epithet...)